Easy Polish Leczo Recipe (tomato and peppers stew) from the Smoker

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With tomato season upon us, you need this Polish Leczo recipe (Tomato and Peppers Stew). With an abundance of red tomatoes during summer my mom would make it on repeat and oddly enough I would not be bored eating Leczo often, it is so good. 

leczo in a pan, napkin, slices of bread, fresh herbs, spoons

Leczo is a traditional, Hungarian comfort stew. Because of how delicious and satisfying it is, over the years many versions of leczo have been created. With the abundance of fresh tomatoes, it is very often made during summer and early fall. Of course, you can make it any time of the year, and I will tell you how in this post. 

This easy and quick-to-make dish is typically made with tomatoes, peppers, and paprika, lots of it! In my version, I added polska kielbasa, poblano, and chipotle peppers, oh yeah and I cooked it on my smoker to elevate the flavors even more. 

leczo on a serving plate, slices of bread, spoon, dish with butter, glass of water, cut up tomatoes

Why you will love Polish Leczo

This leczo is your answer to use an abundance of fresh summer vegetables. One pot dish that feeds the crowd, flavors, textures perfection. Serve for breakfast – lunch with a sunny-side-up egg or for dinner with rice, fresh potatoes, or crusty bread.

Easy and quick to make during the week or as a meal prep. Adjust to your dietary needs, make it vegan or vegetarian (by skipping the meat and butter).

This tomato-peppers stew is very nutritious and satisfying, a great meal for hot summer days or when you need a comforting meal during winter.

Leczo Ingredients, Variations, and Substitutions

ingredients to make Leczo with name tags

Bell Peppers (Yellow, Orange, or Red Peppers) – sweet and colorful, bell peppers add a vibrant flavor and texture to the dish. Choose peppers that are firm and free from blemishes. You can mix and match different colors for a visually appealing dish. If you can’t find bell peppers, you can use any other sweet pepper variety, such as cubanelle peppers or sweet banana peppers. For a less sweet option, opt for green peppers.

Red Tomatoes – provide the base flavor and acidity for the stew. Opt for fresh, ripe tomatoes whenever possible for the best flavor. If fresh tomatoes are not available, you can use canned tomatoes. Just be sure to drain them before adding them to the stew.

Zucchini – adds texture and body to the stew without overpowering the other flavors. Choose small to medium-sized zucchinis that are firm and free from blemishes. Yellow squash can be used as a substitute for zucchini, providing a similar texture and flavor.

Yellow Onion – sweet and savory flavor base to the stew. Choose onions that are firm and free from soft spots or sprouting. White onions or sweet onions can be used as alternatives to yellow onions.

Polish kiełbasa (aka Polish sausage) – add a smoky, savory flavor and hearty texture to the stew. Choose your favorite variety of kielbasa, such as pork, beef, or turkey. If you prefer, you can use ground meat, such as ground pork, beef, or turkey, as a substitute for kielbasa. Meatballs are also a great option.

Poblano Pepper – add a mild heat and smoky flavor to the stew. Be sure to remove the seeds and membranes from the poblano pepper to reduce the heat. If you can’t find poblano peppers, you can use Anaheim peppers or green bell peppers for a milder flavor.

Tomato Paste – add richness, depth of flavor, and thickness to the stew. If you don’t have tomato paste, you can use tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, but you may need to simmer the stew longer to achieve the desired thickness and flavor.

Tomato Sauce – adds additional tomato flavor and helps to thicken the stew. If you don’t have tomato sauce, you can use canned crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes as a substitute.

Adobo Sauce – adds a smoky, tangy flavor and a hint of heat to the stew. Use canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or just the sauce itself, depending on your desired level of heat. If you don’t have adobo sauce, you can use smoked paprika or chipotle powder for a similar smoky flavor.

Smoked Paprika – adds rich, smoky flavor to the stew. If you don’t have smoked paprika, you can use regular paprika,

Olive Oil (or Butter) – needed to sauté the vegetables. Use a good-quality olive oil for the best flavor. If you prefer, you can use butter instead of olive oil for added richness.

Worcestershire Sauce  – adds umami flavor to the stew. If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, you can use soy sauce or tamari as a substitute.

Salt and Pepper – enhance the flavors of the other ingredients and balance the dish. Season the stew to taste, adding salt and ground black pepper gradually and tasting as you go. 

Marjoram – adds a subtle, sweet, and slightly floral flavor to the stew. Use dried marjoram for convenience, or fresh marjoram if you have it available. If you don’t have marjoram, you can use dried oregano or thyme as a substitute.

Equipment you will need

Smoker, wood chips or wood pellets: Hickory or Applewood flavors are recommended

Large pot or Dutch oven

Chef’s knife

Cutting board

Tongs or stirring spoon

Measuring cups and spoons

Aluminum Foil (optional)

leczo on a serving plate, slices of bread, spoon, dish with butter, glass of water, cut up tomatoes

Top Tips for best tasting Polish Leczo

Preheat your smoker – this helps to achieve even cooking and ensures that the smoky flavor develops properly.

Use a variety of peppers – mixing different colored bell peppers not only adds visual appeal to your dish but also brings a variety of flavors and nutrients.

Remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers – they can add unwanted bitterness and heat to your stew. Removing them ensures a milder, sweeter flavor.

Choose ripe tomatoes – they are sweeter and more flavorful than unripe ones. Choose tomatoes that are firm but give slightly when gently squeezed.

Don’t overcook the vegetables – they can become mushy and lose their vibrant color and flavor. Cook them just until they’re tender-crisp for the best texture and flavor.

Add the zucchini towards the end of cooking – zucchini cooks quickly and can become mushy if overcooked. Add it towards the end of cooking to ensure it retains its texture.

Brown the kielbasa – to add an extra layer of flavor and help to develop a richer, deeper taste.

Adjust the seasoning to taste – taste the stew as it cooks and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Let the stew rest before serving – like many stews, this tomato-pepper stew benefits from a brief resting period before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and intensify.

How to make Polish Leczo (step-by-step instructions):

  • Preheat your smoker to around 225°F (107°C). I recommend using hickory or applewood wood pellets to enhance the flavor of this stew.
  • Roast the poblano pepper over an open fire. Place in a paper bag to steam. After a few minutes remove the skin, cut the pepper open, remove the seeds.
  • Wash and chop the bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, poblano pepper, and zucchini. Cut Polish kiełbasa (Polish sausage) into bite-sized pieces.
  • Heat olive oil or butter in a large pot or Dutch oven on the smoker.
  • Add the chopped onion, and roasted poblano pepper, sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes.

  • Push the vegetables to the side (or remove them from the pot) of the pot and add the chopped kielbasa. Sauté until browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, adobo sauce, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and marjoram to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  • Cover the pot with a lid or aluminum foil and let the stew simmer on the smoker for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
  • Add the chopped zucchini and cook 10 more minutes or until it is tender to your liking.
  • Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more salt, pepper, or smoked paprika to taste
  • Once the stew is cooked to your liking, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for a few minutes.
cooked leczo in a pot

How to best enjoy Polish leczo

  • Serve with crusty bread
  • Top with sour cream or Greek Yogurt:
  • Pair with rice or quinoa:
  • Add a fried egg
  • Sprinkle with fresh herbs:
  • Pair with smoked sausage or meatballs:
  • Enjoy as a side dish for grilled meats, roasted chicken, or fish.

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Storage instructions, reheating

  • Refrigeration:
    • Allow any leftover leczo to cool completely at room temperature.
    • Transfer the stew to an airtight container or sealable storage bag.
    • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing:
    • Allow the stew to cool completely at room temperature
    • Portion the sauce into freezer-safe containers or sealable bags.
    • use within 2-3 months for the best quality and taste.  
  • Reheating:
  • from the refrigerator
    • Stovetop – place the desired amount of the stew in a saucepan and reheat over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure even warming. 
    • Microwave – always use microwave – safe container; reheat in short intervals, stirring in between to distribute the heat
  • from the freezer
    • first thaw the stew in the refrigerator overnight
    • Once thawed, follow the reheating instructions for refrigerated stew

Tip:

  • If the leczo seems a bit thick after reheating, you can add a splash of water or vegetable broth to thin it out to your desired consistency.
  • Taste the leczo after reheating and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more salt, pepper, or paprika to taste.

leczo on a serving plate, slices of bread, spoon
eczo in a pan, napkin, slices of bread, fresh herbs, spoons

Tomato and Peppers Stew

Sylwia Vaclavek
With tomato season upon us you need this Tomato and Peppers Stew Recipe handy. Add your own twist to the classing by incorporating spicy peppers, poblano and chipotle. Feed a hungry crowd or enjoy as a satisfying breakfast.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Polish
Servings 6
Calories 359 kcal

Equipment

  • wood pellet smoker
  • large pot or Dutch oven
  • chef's knife
  • cutting board
  • tongs or stirring spoon
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • aluminum foil

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1-2 Bell peppers
  • 6-8 Red tomatoes
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Poblano pepper
  • 3 Zucchini
  • 2 cups Kielbasa
  • 2 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Tomato sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp Adobo sauce
  • tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil or butter
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt pepper
  • 2 tsp Marjoram

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your smoker to around 225°F (107°C). I recommend using hickory or applewood wood pellets to enhance the flavor of this stew.
  • Roast the poblano pepper over an open fire. When done place in a paper bag and steam for few a minutes. Remove from the bag, peel off the skin, and chop the pepper.
  • Wash and chop the bell peppers, tomatoes, onion and zucchini. Cut kielbasa into bite-sized pieces.
  • Heat olive oil or butter in a large pot or Dutch oven on the smoker.
  • Add the chopped onion and poblano pepper and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped bell peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • Push the vegetables to the side (or remove them from the pot) of the pot and add the chopped kielbasa. Sauté until browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, adobo sauce, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and marjoram to the pot. Stir well to combine.
  • Cover the pot with a lid or aluminum foil and let the stew simmer on the smoker for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded together.
  • Add the chopped zucchini and cook 10 more minutes or until it is tender to your liking.
  • Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more salt, pepper, or smoked paprika to taste
  • Once the stew is cooked to your liking, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for a few minutes.

Notes

Make it the day before you want to enjoy it. This stew taste better the next day after all the flavors meld in
Use variety of peppers. Start with bell peppers and kick up a notch the flavor with poblanos and chipotle peppers.
Brown the kielbasa for extra flavor – Browning the kielbasa before adding it to the stew adds an extra layer of flavor and helps to develop a richer, deeper taste.
Add the zucchini towards the end of cooking – Zucchini cooks quickly and can become mushy if overcooked. Add it towards the end of cooking to ensure it retains its texture

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 359kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 15gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 1.882mgPotassium: 1.053mgFiber: 5gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 2.431IUVitamin C: 82mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 3mg
Keyword lecho, peppers, stew, toamto
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Leczo Conclusion

This Easy Leczo Recipe (Tomato, Peppers, and Sausage Stew) from the smoker is a versatile, flavorful dish that captures the essence of summer’s best produce.

This blend of tomatoes, peppers and smoky kielbasa offers a comforting and satisfying meal suitable for any time of the year. Whether you’re looking to use up fresh summer vegetables or crave a warming dish during colder months, Leczo is a perfect choice.

It is very easy to adapt it to various dietary preferences, making it a great addition to your recipe repertoire. Enjoy leczo with crusty bread, cooked rice, or even topped with a fried egg for a hearty and delicious meal.

FAQ about Polish Leczo

What is Lecho?

Lecho is a traditional Hungarian dish made with sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions, Hungarian paprika, and often sausage. This Hungarian cuisine is known for its rich, hearty flavor and vibrant color. The Polish version of this dish is called Leczo.

What peppers are used in this stew?

Typically, Leczo is made with sweet bell peppers, such as red, yellow, orange, and green peppers. Some variations may also include mildly spicy peppers like poblano or banana peppers. My favorite is red peppers.

Can I make Leczo without sausage? 

Yes, you can make Lecho without sausage. Simply omit the sausage or substitute it with other protein sources like beans, chickpeas, or tofu for a vegetarian version.

Can I freeze Leczo? 

Yes, Lecho freezes well. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Read more HERE about storage.

How do I reheat frozen Stew? 

To reheat Leczo, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until heated through. Click HERE to read more about storage and reheating.

Can I customize the ingredients? 

Yes, this Tomato, Peppers and Sausage Stew is very customizable. You can add additional vegetables like squash, eggplant, or carrots, and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

Is this Stew spicy? 

Traditional Leczo is not spicy, but it can have a mild kick depending on the type of peppers used. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers before cooking.

What is the difference between Leczo and Ratatouille? 

While both Leczo and Ratatouille are vegetable stews, they come from different culinary traditions. Leczo is Hungarian and typically includes peppers, tomatoes, onions, and sausage, while Ratatouille is French and includes eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and herbs.

Can I make Leczo in advance? 

Yes, you can make Leczo in advance. It tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. Simply store it in the refrigerator and reheat it when ready to serve.

What can I serve with Leczo?

Leczo is delicious on its own or served with crusty bread, rice, or noodles. It also pairs well with grilled meats, sausages, or eggs.

Check out the latest recipes from My Omni Kitchen

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