Whether by chance or by design, MAGC’s Edible Garden boasts a particularly Hungarian-themed pepper crop this year. Our Garden Manager, Steven Schwager, has Hungarian ancestry, which may have played a part in the selection process; however the choice was made, the plants are thriving. Peppers’ spicy heat comes from a chemical called capsaicin, and pepper plants themselves love the hot summer, as long as they get plenty of water.

In the Edible Garden’s pepper bed you can find Black Hungarian, Gypsy, Alma (apple), and Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, as well as purple bell peppers, and Carmen Cheese and Gold Marconi varieties under the Italian flag. Sweet or hot, fresh and dried peppers—both called paprika—have a starring role in Hungarian cuisine. The famous guylás leves, goulash, starts as lecsó, a thick sauté that can be eaten just as it is, supplemented with eggs or sausage and served with a few slices of bread to sop up the juices. Here’s a simple recipe that makes the most of a bounty of summer peppers, tomatoes and onions.  Jó étvágyat!

Hungarian Lecso


2 Tbs vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 Hungarian wax  or other peppers
4 medium tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp dried marjoram, or 1 tsp fresh – optional
1 Tbs paprika, preferably Hungarian

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Core the peppers and slice them into rings.
  3. When onions are starting to brown, add the peppers and continue cooking, stirring occasionally.
  4. Roughly chop the tomatoes.
  5. Once the peppers are soft, add the marjoram and paprika. Stir and add the chopped tomatoes. Lower the heat and cook until tomatoes begin to break down.
  6. Serve with bread, or over potatoes or rice.