Two common ingredients in Hungarian cuisine are paprika spice and tomato sauce and they are what put a Hungarian spin on this version of stuffed peppers known as toltott paprika. And it definitely wouldn't be Hungarian without the ever-present, but optional, garnish of sour cream.
This filling also can be used for a Hungarian version of stuffed cabbage rolls.
- 4 bell peppers (multicolored)
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 cup rice (rinsed and parboiled)
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 1 teaspoon sweet or hot Hungarian paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Garnish: sour cream (optional)
- Wash peppers. Cut off tops and remove seeds. Season cavities lightly with salt and pepper. Finely chop pepper tops and place in large bowl.
- Add onion, ground chuck, pork, parboiled rice, egg, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic to the bowl containing the pepper tops. Mix well.
- Stuff peppers lightly with meat mixture because the rice will expand. If you have any leftover meat filling, form it into meatballs.
- Place stuffed peppers and any meatballs in a small slow cooker. Mix together tomato sauce and sugar and pour over peppers. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. This also can be cooked in a 350 F oven for 1 hour or on the stovetop for 1 hour.
- Serve peppers with a dollop of sour cream, if desired, and crusty white or rye bread. Cooked peppers freeze well if covered with sauce.
More About Paprika
Paprika in Hungarian also refers to the peppers from which the spice is made. The peppers are native to the Americas and were taken to Hungary by merchants where it flourished. Hungarian paprika is revered the world over because it is said the soil the peppers are grown in lends a flavor like no other.
The Spanish, however, will argue that their paprika, especially smoked paprika, is superior to Hungarian paprika. It's all a matter of taste.
What the two paprikas have in common is a grading system. This is the grading system for Hungarian paprika:
- Special Quality: Mild and sweet with a bright red color
- Delicate: Light to dark red with a mild and rich flavor
- Exquisite Delicate: Similar to Delicate but more pungent
- Pungent Exquisite Delicate: An even more pungent version of Delicate
- Rose: Pale red with strong aroma and mild pungency
- Noble Sweet: The most common paprika that is bright red and slightly pungent
- Half-Sweet: A blend of mild and pungent paprikas
- Strong: Light brown in color and the hottest paprika