This was my grandfather’s favourite joke. He would tell us to ask him if he was hungry? And he would respond, “No, I’m Czechoslovakian.” Then he would laugh and laugh, which sounded more like heavy wheezing. Then we would look at each other wondering if we should call 911. Then we would remember that the last time this happen, it turned out to just be heavy wheezing…you get the idea.

In honour of my Hungarian grandparents, this week’s post is going to feature a Hungarian staple — the pepper.

Hungary is most famous for Paprika, which is essentially pepper. The other feature pepper this week is the one that we most often find in our fridges because it’s usually the cheapest pepper we can get — the green pepper.

Paprika is made from chili pepper, but not the kind you make fajitas with. The Capsicum Annuum, the botanical name for the chili pepper, and for obvious reasons, not the name grocery stores use to market paprika, comes in many varieties. Spain, the Netherlands, and Hungary are major exporters of paprika, each producing their own special versions. The one you’ll need for today is Hungarian. Why? Because Hungarian paprika is better; we haven’t had much luck in wars or in politics, so let us at least have our paprika.

Bell peppers also come in categories, albeit unofficial. Fajita peppers, as I like to categorize them as, are the round, bulbous kind that are sold in Loblaws or Fortino’s. European peppers are longer and more wrinkly.

Enough said.

Paprika is made from European peppers.

The recipes this week unite the East pepper with the West pepper. You’ll need some green peppers from your local over-priced grocer and some Paprika from your local European deli. The paprika you want to look for is:

This first recipe is addictive. One, because it taste so good, and two, because it is so cheap and easy to make!

4-6 chicken breasts (cubed) (you can use chicken thighs, as well)
1 tsp of oil
2 large onions
1 green pepper
2 tbsp of paprika (1 tbsp of hot, 1 tbsp of regular or 2 tbsp of regular if you don’t like heat)
4-5 cups of chicken stock

Saute onion and peppers in oil over medium heat. Take off heat. Add paprika and mix. Add chicken and return to high medium heat until chicken begins to brown. Add chicken stock. Place in oven covered at 350F for 1 hour (or longer for more tender chicken).

Serve with low fat plain yogurt or low fat sour cream. Add dumplings, if you like.

2 cups of whole wheat flour
3/4 cup water
1 egg
1 tsp of salt

Mix with fork until a batter like consistency. Drop into boiling water in small bits or use a spitzle.


Lesco is the second recipe to feature peppers. Lesco is one of those ones you have to make in order to actually understand why it’s so good.

2 onions (or 1 large red onion)
2 green peppers
4 tomatoes
1 tbsp of paprika (regular)
1 tsp of salt

Saute onions first, then add paprika. Add green pepper. Peel tomatoes and stew until soft.

You can easily peel tomatoes if you boil them first. Optional (and highly suggested) is to drop in an egg near the end of cooking after the veggies are soft.

So these recipes are really tasty, but I can’t write a post on peppers without conjuring the best pepper recipe of all time…