This food is typical Hungarian. My grandmother made the sauce from fresh tomatoes which grew in our garden. It was much more complicated to make it from fresh tomato, you had to peel it, grind it with a special tomato grinder and squeeze it over a strainer. My mom and I are making this tomato sauce from natural bio tomato juice, we choose the thickest juice what we can find in the store.
Stuffed paprika is very popular in Hungary, I have never heard about a family who hasn’t made this food. The main difference in different parts of the country is the way it’s served, some families serve it with boiled potatoes, others with pasta or with a fresh slice of bread like us.
When I was little girl and I went to summer holiday with my parents for two weeks, I asked my grandma to welcome me back home with my favorite stuffed paprika. I was very picky that time and I did not want to eat everything. For two weeks I only ate Wiener schnitzel at the restaurants and I missed my grandma’s tasty homemade food very much. My mom later told me that when she was breastfeeding me she mostly ate stuffed paprika and that my grandmother was making it all the time for her. I feel like it’s part of my DNA, you never know, maybe this is part of my epigenetic inheritance also.
Here in the Netherlands, it’s not easy to buy Hungarian wax paprika or pepper, I immediately buy 2-3 kg when I see in the grocery. Don’t worry, you don’t need this big amount for just one-pot dish, I make other traditional Hungarian food too, when I can buy this type of paprika.
This paprika is widely used in Hungarian and Turkish cuisine, has a white or light green colour. If the paprika is hanging on the plant for a longer period of time, it will turn to red, but it is tastiest when they are white or green. Of course, you can make this food with bell pepper too, it will be nice, but it will be not the same taste. I like bell pepper to bake and grill better than to cook in sauce.
- 1½ liter tomato juice thickest bio option
- 2 strands celery leaves
- 2 strands basil leaves
- 8 Hungarian wax paprika or bell pepper
- 500 gram minced meat half pork half beef
- 100 gram rice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion finely cut
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 large egg
- 1 bunch parsley finely cut
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp agave syrup
- 2 tsp tapioca flour only used to thicken if necessary
- Cook the rice first but only halfway, then leave it to cool, you will need it later.
- Pour tomato juice into big pot, put 1 tsp salt, celery and basil leaves into it, and start to cook it on medium-high heat. You don’t need to cover it.
- While tomato juice is cooking, you can prepare the paprika. Wash them, cut the top off and gently cut seeds and veins out.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add finely cut onion and sauté for 2 minutes, until translucent.
- Put minced meat into a bowl, add half cooked rice, egg, onion, garlic, paprika powder, 1 tsp salt, ¾ tsp pepper and finely cut parsley and mix well by hand.
- Stuff peppers with meat mixture. Try to fill the peppers completely, but do not overstuff by pushing mixture too hard, because they will fall apart during the cooking.
- When tomato sauce is boiling, put stuffed peppers into it. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low-medium to simmering for 45 minutes until peppers are soft. Check it with a fork. Pay attention, overcooked peppers will fall apart!
- Remove the celery and basil leaves.
- If you want to thicken the sauce, take out the stuffed peppers and set them aside while you finish off with thickener and seasoning in step 9 in 10.
- Taste your sauce and see if you need more seasoning, add agave syrup into the sauce, add ¼ ground pepper and stir it very carefully, don’t break stuffed paprika.
- To thicken (if necessary), put 2 tsp tapioca flour into 2 tbsp cold water, mix it and pour it into the sauce. Stir it for 2-3 minutes, until it is thicker. Place the stuffed peppers back into the sauce and serve it.