These bell peppers and jalapenos are stuffed with a savory beef filling and topped with tangy tomato sauce! This variation of the classic Hungarian recipe is the perfect dish to bring to a potluck or serve as a comforting dinner at home.
Hungarian Comfort Food
Though a lot of you may know that I’m proudly Vietnamese, what you may not know is that I actually spent 16 years of my life in Europe. So besides my favorite Vietnamese dishes, I also have a special place in my heart for European comfort food. The recipe I’m going to show you today is my version of Töltött Paprika, a delicious Hungarian dish of stuffed hot peppers.
According to the history books, stuffing vegetables was an idea that the Hungarians learned from the Turks after years under the Ottoman rule. Töltött Paprika is very similar to Turkish Biber Dolmasi, which are peppers stuffed with rice and ground meat. The main difference is the addition of paprika, a staple in Hungarian cuisine.
Hungarian Stuffed Bell Peppers and Jalapenos
This dish is usually made with Hungarian wax peppers, which are delicious and can be quite spicy. But to make the recipe more accessible, I’m going to make it with bell peppers and jalapenos – straight from my garden!
I like to stay as close to the food source as possible, so home-grown veggies are my favorite ingredients to cook with. They’re fun to cultivate and are also more delicious and healthy (free of pesticides) than a lot of the products you can find in the grocery. Let me know if you want to learn more about growing different vegetables at home!
If you aren’t a big fan of spicy food, you can make your Töltött Paprika with just the bell peppers. However, if you want something closer to the original you should go with the jalapenos. I personally like to make both, so we can have a mix of spicy and mild stuffed peppers.
How to Make Sajtos Töltött Paprika or Cheese Stuffed Peppers?
If you’re a cheese lover, you can also turn this recipe into a cheesy variation of the dish known as Sajtos Töltött Paprika. All you have to do is add your choice of cheese to the filling. For a vegetarian option, you can also replace the meat filling altogether with cheese.
The most commonly used cheese for this purpose is a combination of farmer’s cheese (or ricotta) and Pecorino Romano (or parmesan), but I’ve also seen some versions made with cream cheese. I suggest adding these to the jalapeno stuffed peppers. The spiciness of the pepper works wonderfully with the rich and tangy flavor of cheese.
Hungarian Stuffed Peppers Tomato Sauce
The highlight of this Hungarian dish that makes it so comforting is the addition of a savory tomato sauce. My simple tomato sauce has a secret ingredient to make it even more delicious: mushroom seasoning! You might recognize it from my loco moco recipe.
I highly recommend giving mushroom seasoning a try as it’s very easy to find online and can transform your dishes. But in a pinch, you can use beef broth or veggie broth as well.
Hungarian Stuffed Peppers Recipe | Töltött Paprika
- 4-6 Bell Peppers (depending on size)
- 5-6 Jalapenos
- 1.25 lbs Ground Beef
- 1 large Onion – chopped
- 1 tsp Paprika Powder
- 1 cup Cooked Rice
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 1 tsp Coarse Salt – Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- 1 can Tomato Paste 6 oz
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Flour
- 2.25 cups water
- 3 tbsp Mushroom Seasoning (instead of water/mushroom seasoning, you can use Beef Broth or Vegetable broth as well)
- Wash bell peppers then cut off the top and remove seeds.
- Wash jalapenos then cut in half and remove seeds.
- Add cooked rice, paprika powder, chopped onions, egg, sugar, minced garlic, salt and pepper to ground beef and mix well.
- Let the ground beef marinate for 30 minutes.
- Stuff bell peppers and jalapenos with mixed beef. Form leftover meat into small meatballs.
- Sear the stuffed peppers (meat side only) and the meatballs.
- Set seared meatballs and peppers aside.
- Use the same pot to make the sauce.
- Melt the butter, then add flour and cook it down a little.
- Mix water with mushroom seasoning and add to the pot.
- Add tomato paste and mix well.
- Add sugar, salt and black pepper.
- Add chopped peppers that we saved from cutting off the top of the bell peppers.
- Let it come to a light boil.
- Add stuffed peppers, jalapenos and meatballs to the sauce.
- Lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for 30-40 minutes. Stir occasionally as needed.
- Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.