Leczo (pron. “letcho”) is a Polish-style vegetable stew, heavily inspired by the Hungarian Lecsó.
In this recipe, juicy bell peppers, sharp onions and rounds of smoky kiełbasa are coated in rich, thick tomato sauce. When served with rice or some fresh bread, Leczo stew makes a wonderful meal for either lunch or dinner.
For the full list of ingredients & detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. But before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know below.
Leczo stew came to us from the northern parts of Hungary (where it’s called Lecsó) (source). After a few minor tweaks, it has stayed on Polish menus for good. In a way, Polish Leczo is closer to French ratatouille – as it has plenty of sauce, and a high variety of veggies.
Each homecook prepares it a bit differently. Some add meat (e.g. chicken), others add chopped bacon, but the most popular meaty ingredient remains the classic kiełbasa sausage. You can also omit the meat altogether and treat it as a side dish.
The same goes for vegetables, their selection depends on the season. In Polish leczo, you’ll likely find the classic trio: tomatoes, peppers and onions – but also zucchini, eggplants, and even squash.
The key is to find your favourite version of this dish, and just stick to the base – tomatoes and peppers. The rest is up to you.
Do you need any special ingredients or equipment to make this Polish Leczo?
No, most of the ingredients should be available at any major supermarket.
The only trickier ingredient is the sausage – you’ll need a pound (roughly 450-500 g) of what’s internationally known as ‘Polish kiełbasa’. This is a mildly spiced sausage, mostly made of pork, known in Poland as kiełbasa ‘wiejska’ or ‘zwyczajna’.
Here’s more on Polish kiełbasa, its types (there are many!) and how they differ.
Equipment-wise, you’ll need a deep frying pan or a wide cooking pot, either one with a lid.
What should you serve with this Kiełbasa and Peppers Stew?
In general, Leczo is a stand-alone dish, usually served for lunch or dinner.
This fragrant stew is often paired with a slice of fresh bread, or a portion of cooked grains (rice, barley, buckwheat). It also tastes great alongside a few crispy Polish Potato Pancakes.
When cooked without the sausage, Leczo can be served as a side dish – to accompany steaks or roast meats.
Can you make this Leczo Stew another way?
Yes, there are a few things you can change up.
Adding zucchinis: In Poland, we also enjoy another version of this stew – packed with fresh zucchinis. Here’s the Zucchini Stew recipe.
Using different protein: I’ve seen recipes with shrimp or chicken breast chunks. Sounds fab, give it a go.
What diets is this Polish Leczo suitable for?
This recipe is both gluten and dairy-free. It is also low-carb and keto friendly.
To make this dish suitable for vegetarians, opt-in for a meat-free sausage and swap the lard for a plant-based oil.
How long can you keep this Leczo in the fridge?
Once served, don’t leave it at room temperature for more than 3-4 hours.
Once cooled, refrigerate the leftovers in a container with a lid for up to 3 days.
When you’re ready to eat again, reheat only a portion that you’re planning to consume. Bell peppers have a tendency to overcook easily, therefore it’s best to avoid reheating the dish over and over again.
Can I freeze this Kiełbasa and Peppers Stew?
Yes, you can. Freeze the dish in a freezer-friendly container with a lid, as soon as it’s cold enough to do so. Remember to label it with a description and the date. Aim to consume within 3 months.
How do I reheat this Polish Leczo?
From chilled: Reheat it in a saucepan on a medium heat, stirring frequently. If it’s too thick and starts to stick to the pan, add some water, passata or stock. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until hot throughout.
Alternatively, place it in a microwave-proof container with loosely fitting lid and heat for 4-7 minutes until heated throughout.
From frozen: Defrost thoroughly, then as above. Before serving, make sure it’s piping hot all the way through.
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