Inspired by lecscó, my version adds a little nuance with the poblano pepper and rounds the dish out with some kale and black lentils. Shown here with freshly made spätzle (gluten free, plant-only) dusted with nutritional yeast, but fresh bread, roasted or mashed potatoes, rice or similar accompaniments should all go well.
1/3 cup black beluga lentils
3/4 cup water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1/2″)
4 scallions, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 cup red peppers, cored, seeded, 1/3″ dice
1 cup Hungarian peppers, cored, seeded, 1/3″ dice
3/4 cup poblano peppers, cored, seeded, 1/3″ dice
1/2T smoked paprika
1/2T coconut sugar (or a little maple syrup)
1/2T lemon juice
1 cup tomato passata (or puree)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 cups green curly kale, stemmed and chopped
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
Optional: There are a number of regional variations for lecsó, but tomatoes, onions, and peppers form a common base. Use some fresh tomatoes, slice the peppers and onions in strips rather than dice and use green pepper rather than poblano for a more traditional version. If you do, saute the onions first, add the paprika and sugar and then the rest of the peppers. Lecsó is often stewed. You ca make this dish in a slow cooker if you prefer (just be careful not to overcook the peppers). A tablespoon of cooking oil will also add some richesse to this dish.
Bring the water to a boil in a small pan with a lid. Add the lentils and kombu. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove the kombu and set the lentils aside to cool for 5 minutes, covered.
With the lentils underway, bring a large frying pan to heat on medium high. Add the peppers, scallions and sea salt. Stirfry for 3-5 minutes, or until the peppers are starting to wilt. Reduce heat to medium. Add the paprika and coconut sugar. Saute for 3-5 minutes.
When the pan starts to brown, add the lemon juice and deglaze. Add the passata and stock, and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes uncovered or until the passata has been reduced by about 1/3, stirring periodically (but gently).
When ready, add the kale and black lentils. Stir to combine. Let stand 2-3 minutes to cool and to wilt the kale. Season to taste and serve.