Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rich and smoky and spicy

Behold my original copy of Mom's Lecho recipe:

I still make lecho exactly this way, although I do not use Echrich sausage, but a spicy double smoked garlic sausage I buy at the West Side Market. The other day, I posted briefly on the Evil Overlord Site facebook about how I was making lecho and how the house was filled with a wonderful aroma. A few people asked for the recipe, hence this entry.

My hot peppers didn't seem quite hot enough, so I used Skyline's Hot Sauce instead of Tabasco. That Skyline sauce is hot as hell and I think it made a difference. The lecho was rich and smoky and spicy. It was, indeed, some of the best lecho I've ever made.

I do not take making lecho lightly. It's one of the things I do when nothing makes sense in the world and I don't know how to fix anything or what to do with myself. Making lecho is like going to the Cleveland Museum of Art and ambling through Armor Court or saying hi to The Thinker. It's like eating a falafel sandwich on the balcony of the West Side Market.

Making lecho resets my head. It gives me something to hang onto when I feel like I'm floating away.

The funny thing about The Irish Hungarian Guide to the Domestic Arts is not just that it's funny (and it is), but the whole book is about those sorts of things--things like lecho that keep us in touch with who we are, who we've been and what we'll be in the future. My own full blown recipe for lecho is in the book, complete with all the asides and commentary that fills out a recipe, which (if you do it right) should always be more than a recipe.

Yeah, yeah, here's an excerpt of my expanded lecho recipe from The Irish Hungarian:

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When I make Hungarian lecho (pronounced letch-oh, sometimes spelled lecs├│), not only am I a control freak on the hand-dice of the peppers and onion, I get all the ingredients prepared and lined up like some miserable Next Food Network Star wannabe, which is the modern reference. If you're old school, you'll remember how the TV chefs would step onto the kitchen set and all these neat little bowls filled with chopped whatnot would be in front of them ready to go. The Cajun Cook (Justin Wilson) or the Galloping Gourmet (Graham Kerr) would make everything look oh-so-easy while we real Real Housewives knew that backstage, some poor lackey was slicing his fingers to shreds as he carved out interior pepper ribs and cried his eyes out over a pile of minced onions.

Welcome to the real world, sugartits.

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John Venlet said...

I do not take making lecho lightly. It's one of the things I do when nothing makes sense in the world...

Hey, Erin, if that's the criteria for the making of lecho, you should have a batch of it on the stove every single day. Sounds delicious.

Glass Houses said...

EOB - I've been away far too long. Reading your blog is what I do when nothing makes sense in the world and I don't know how to fix anything or what to do with myself.

xoxo Glass Houses

Erin O'Brien said...

Ha! John, I fear everyday lecho would lead to entirely too much Erin. Lecho is not what you'd call your diet/health food.

Welcome back, GH, and with such kind words no less.

Mrs. C said...

"Welcome to the real world, sugartits." Oh, how I long to be able to use that luscious comment aloud in class.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly on topic but in the kitchen realm...

Regular readers have likely surmised I'm an old batchelor. As such my kitchen tools are a hodgepodge of devices. Been feeling domestic (just in case one of the local widow women drop by) Could you foodies recommend some cookware that doesn't cost 2k for a 10 piece set (lids count as a piece, per the adds).

Thank you.


Erin O'Brien said...

Mrs. C--enjoy.

RJ: I found one of these for $40 at TJMaxx. It is a great pan. And yes, I do make my lecho in it. It is nonstick, so it will not last forever, but it will last for a few years with even my heavy usage. It's got good heat conduction and the nonstick surface is very good as well.

I don't know where Revere Ware is made today, my my 21-year-old set is damn good everyday cookware. I have the aluminum bottom type (good heat conduction). It is stainless steel (not non-stick--but the pans last forever).

Go. To. Garage. Sales.

You will sometimes find old Revere Ware or Faberware. No shame in old copper-bottom stainless pans. My Mom's been cooking with the same ones for decades. You might even find a used piece of Le Creuset (woot!)

DO NOT buy a non-stick coated cast iron pan. The coating will fail long before the cast iron does--so you're paying a premium for a pan that will not last all that long.

And perhaps the very best pan I own is my Great Gram's 100-year-old 15" cast iron skillet. An old cast iron skillet beats a new one every day of the week (I have a kick-ass ancient set from the Goat's side of the fam as well), but if you are up to the challenge, buy a piece of new Lodge cast iron (made in USA) and season it yourself.

Note: Lodge enameled cast iron is made in China.

Note again: You need to use a lot of fat when you cook in cast iron.

Shit. I wish you lived closer. I would take you on a serious goddamn garage sale safari.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...


I don't know that I'm a foodie, but the last time I was in K-Mart there was a modest little set, domestic maker, well under a hundred bucks.

Anonymous said...


Erin's post reminded me of a shopping trip with the boss right before the holidays-Bed Bath & Beyond also has some stuff, sets or pieces, damned reasonable prices

Anonymous said...

@ Erin-

Is this dish reputed to be an aphrodisiac?

Erin O'Brien said...

Is that MR? Dunno.

Anyway, re: aphrodisiac: you're dealing with a girl who loves big hairy guys with beer, so what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback. Once the proper vessel is obtained I'll have to horrify some veggie friends with a pot of Lecho.


Anonymous said...

@ Erin-Just wondering if this is where we get the word 'lecho-rous' from...


Anonymous said...

Eh? No 'tee-hee' Erin? I've had that little Cupid arrow in my quiver waiting for an opportunity...

Sorry about the unsigned correspondence before, I missed two or three in a row...


Erin O'Brien said...

; )

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Love this, Erin, and thanks for the recipe.


Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks, Al.