LIUTENITZA

/Pepper Relish/

In Bulgaria, liutenitza is produced in canning factories (and sold in stores), but is also made at home. Even home-made liutenitza, however, is usually prepared in large amounts and preserved in glass jars to use in winter time, when there are no fresh vegetables. It is used for garnishing or for spreading on bread. They also use it as an ingredient for other spreads and sauces (e.g. mixed with white brined cheese, curds or mayonnaise).

In some regions, local people call liutenitza a dish of stewed onions, peppers and tomatoes (in various proportions). Some hot peppers might be added to this meal. In Bulgarian the name of liutenitza comes from liut [ljut], which means hot.

Here follow three different recipes. You can begin by trying with smaller quantities to see if you like the result.

Liutenitza 1

Ingredients:

 

5 kg ripe tomatoes
10 kg red peppers
2 1/2 cups sunflower oil

Directions:

Wash and dice tomatoes and stew them well. Then smash and strain them and boil the juice to obtain paste. (Ready-made tomato paste may be used, but the necessary quantity should be estimated.)
Wash the peppers and remove stem and seeds. Cut them into pieces and boil them in water adding a small amount of salt. While still hot, press and strain them. Mix the mess with the tomato paste and add sunflower oil and some salt (to your taste) and simmer the mixture until it is thick and begins to "fry". While still hot put the cooked relish in well-dried small glass jars. When already cool, pour some sunflower oil on top to preserve it.
It is served mixed with smashed garlic, vinegar and ground walnuts.


Liutenitza 2

Ingredients:

 

5 kg red peppers
8 kg eggplants
2 kg tomatoes
2 1/2 cups sunflower oil


Directions:
Roast the peppers and the eggplants and peel them. Mince peppers and eggplants with tomatoes and stew them stirring all the time until the stirring blade begins to make a "furrow" on the bottom of the cooking pan. Pour into small preserve jars. Wait to cool and then store.
 

 

Liutenitza 3

Ingredients:

 

10 kg ripe tomatoes
1/2 kg small /slightly hot/ peppers
2 cups of sunflower oil
1/4 kg sugar
salt
dill

 

Directions:
Wash, cut and mince or grate the tomatoes and cook them in a large shallow dish. When most of the water has evaporated and the mess has thickened, add small peppers (seed and stem removed) pierced in two or three places. Add oil, sugar, salt and dill. Cook it through stirring continuously. Pour while hot in well-dried and warmed up jars. When mixture cools, add some vegetable oil /1.5 cm deep/ on top.

Based on experience, it is better to can the jars and boil them for 5-10 minutes, as a more reliable way to keep them from getting spoiled.
In some households they also add grated carrots, as well as caraway seeds and pepper for flavouring.
 

One more way to prepare liutenitza is to use the grated inner "flesh" of red peppers, peeling tomatoes and removing seeds. In this case, it would not be necessary to strain them, but the procedure takes more time.

 

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