It came with cold and rain, and some cold light of the day… At least it’s pretty in the glory of its reds, orange and browns…. but it means as well that it’s a pumpkin season and time to make pickes and preservations. Fall means that winter is just round the corner, that isn’t a cheering thought for me. I was born in winter, so I should be a winter girl but I’m not. As much as I fancy the beauty and fluffiness of snow, I hate the cold, and since in Poland tempratures can go below -20C I’m so not looking forward to that!
But for now I shall focus on the beauty of early Fall. Soon there will be Halloween, which is one of my favourite celebrations. I can’t wait to carve Jack’O’Lantern (again we will be the only house in the village having one :), plus maybe Daddy had store somewhere one more Caritas candle, which would be delightful double trouble ). Jacky means a nice pot of steaming pumpkin soup with ginger and a tray of pumpkin swirl brownies, it means as well dear friends at the dining table and maybe a party for few… can’t wait…
Yesterday Mom brought me a huge zucchini, which was one of many she collected in the garden before the first frost. It was amazing with almost 2,5 kilo 🙂 So we knew with Mom that it was the highest time for the dish that came to our kitchen from Hungary – Pepperonatta. Pepperonatta as the name indicates is a dish made with loads of peppers, tomatos and zucchini. When I was a child, and I was growing up in the times of communism (yes, not the one from the history books, but the one which influenced all of us), my Grannie used to make pepperonatta as a quick autumn dish. It was cheap and quick, and since there were problems with meat supplies, it was an easy way to feed the family. There was as well always a chance of getting a sausage or hot dogs (which even in the times when we had bons for food – yes, like during WW2… as far as I remember it was a kilo or two per person/month. Chicken and hot dogs were bon free, if you were lucky enough and your shop had them 😉 ) so adding them to the vegetable stew was a simple way of providing enough proteins.
Pepperonatta when done without sausage can be put in jars and sealed for winter, so in the cold ugly days one needs to open a jar place it in the pot and heat up adding some sausage/becon of your choice… simply delightful and good for you. Enough blabbing, let me go down to business 😉
The recipe is straight forward, it’s a typical “Eintopf” kind of dish, meaning that all goes into one pot and cooks until nice and tender. Again as a kind of a stew it’s cheap as well, and makes a fair amount for a hungry crowd or enough for the family for two or three days (depending how big is your family and how much they eat 😛 ). But most of all it’s healthy – nice fibers from zucchini, vitamins from tomatos, onion and garlic and proteins from saussage… keep one warm on the cold Autumn days 🙂
With this recipe I followed my old family recipe to some extend, but then twisted it up a bit by adding mushrooms and Ajvar, as my stomach doesn’t always agree with cooked peppers. But Ajvar (a paste typical for Balkan countries, often made in Croatia, Serbia etc) which is made in 96% of pepper suits me just fine. I love it as much as I adore Harrisa. Ajvar comes in two kinds – mild and hot, but I like it hot 😉
Pepperonatta With a Twist
(to feed a hungry crowd)
1 zucchini (about 2,5 kilo when whole) skinned, seeds removed, diced
4 big onions sliced
4 cloves garlic sliced
500g mushroom sliced
500g-600g sausage of your choice, sliced (I took śląska 🙂 )
3 broth cubes (two pork chops, one meat)
5-6 teaspoons Ajvar hot
2 cans of canned tomatos
1 box of chopped tomatos with basil
2 small cans of concentrated tomato pure (tomato paste)
In the large pot pour some olive oil and add onion and garlic, let cook for a few, add sausage and let it brown a bit, then mushrooms. When mushroom let some water add diced zucchini and canned tomatos chopped and the the chopped tomatos. Rinse the cans with waters and add it as well. Let it boil. Then add broth cubes, and tomato paste and ajvar. Cover and let it cook on the small flame for about 20-30 mins. Spice with salt and pepper to your taste. Enjoy with a piece of fresh bread.