Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (töltött paprika) are a family favorite, relatively easy to make and full of flavour! It’s summertime and that means my garden is overflowing with lots of sweet Paprika peppers, perfect for this recipe.
It’s an Eastern European favorite, and reminds me a bit of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, except using cabbage, it’s made with Paprika Peppers. My aunt, Olga, is from Hungary and makes all sorts of delicious foods stuffed inside Paprika. She first introduced us to Hungarian cooking, and I was hooked.
You can use sweet red Paprika peppers or the traditional sweet yellow Paprika peppers, they’re the same vegetable, only one has ripened on the vine longer and changed color. The spice Sweet Paprika powder is usually used in this meal, however I like my meals spicier, so I used Hot Paprika Powder, it’s up to you!
You can substitute with Red Bell Peppers, as sometimes Paprika peppers are harder to find. Traditionally Hungarian Stuffed Peppers are made with ground pork, but you can use any meat you like. I default to using ground beef, but this recipe works with ground chicken or even ground turkey.
Some recipes only use tomato paste and water as the sauce to cook the Hungarian Stuffed Peppers. I always use Passata, which is a pure uncooked pureed tomatoes, rich in flavour and vitamins. You can find Passata in all continental deli’s.
If you’ve never tried Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (töltött paprika), give this recipe a try! A classic Hungarian meal. Jó étvágyat! Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (töltött paprika)
- 6-8 Hungarian Yellow or Red Wax Peppers
- 1 lb/500g ground meat usually pork
- ½ cup rice parboiled
- 1 onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- oil for frying
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons oil for roux
- 1 jar passata
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon sugar optional
- Vegeta seasoning to taste
Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C
In a medium saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the onions for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. When the onions are caramelized and starting to brown, remove from heat and place in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan, parboil the rice. Add 2 cups of water to the rice and bring to a boil, allowing to boil for about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and add the the large bowl with onions.
To the large bowl, Add the ground meat (I used beef), 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 generous teaspoon of paprika, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until evenly mixed.
Cut the ends off the peppers and remove the seeds. Using your hands, gently stuff the peppers with the meat mixture. I had long Paprika Peppers, so I used the end of a knife to help push the meat further down the pepper tube. The rice will expand as it cooks, so if you jam pack the peppers, they could split as they cook. With any leftover meat mixture, roll into large meat balls. Place the peppers and extra meatballs in a deep baking tray. It needs to be deep enough to allow the sauce to completely cover the peppers as they cook. Alternatively you could use a large stockpot or a casserole dish, as long as the pepper fit comfortably.
Using the same medium saucepan as you used for frying the onions, heat 3 tablespoons of oil. When oil is hot, add 3 tablespoons of flour to make a roux. Fry together over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste to the roux and fry for another minute.
Slowly add the passata to the roux mixture, while mixing the entire time to smooth out any lumps. Rinse out the passata jar, filling it about halfway with water, shake and pour into the saucepan.
Add 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. I always add Vegeta seasoning to the sauce for a richer flavour. Taste the sauce. If it is too tart, add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Pour the hot tomato sauce over the stuffed paprika peppers, ensure they are completely covered. If they are not fully covered, you can add some hot water to the mix until it's covered.
Place the stuffed paprika peppers into the over for about 1-½ - 2 hours. If you see the peppers rising up and starting to burn, cover with foil. The cooking time depends on the size and thickness of the pepper, meat and rice. Check at the 90 minute mark and decide if it needs more time. If the cooked sauce is too runny, place in a saucepan and allow to further reduce to a thicker consistency.
Serve the pepper in a bowl or plate with plenty of sauce. Enjoy with generous dollop of sour cream and freshly chopped parsley.
I always double the recipe, as I love the extra meatballs with the sauce. Not all peppers are alike, so how many you will need depends on their size. You can substitute the Paprika Pepper with a Red Bell Pepper, or any sweet capsicum (pepper).