Punjena paprika (pronounced [pûɲenaː pǎprika]) (lit. stuffed pepper) is a dish made of peppers, stuffed with a mix of meat and rice in tomato sauce, the ingredients consisting of green or red capsicums, eggs, spices, salt, tomato, minced meat and rice.
The dish is called Punjena paprika in Serbo-Croatian, Polnjena paprika in Slovenian, Palnena Chushka in Bulgarian, Polneti Piperki in Macedonian, Plněná paprika in Czech, Plnená paprika in Slovak, and Töltött paprika in Hungarian, meaning "stuffed peppers", Фарширований перець in Ukrainian, meaning "stuffed pepper". The dish is popular in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Ukraine. There are also many variations of the dish across the Balkans.
Variants of the dish
Stuffed peppers are a traditional dish in all Southeastern European cuisines. Most commonly they are prepared by filling the peppers with a mixture of minced meat, rice and several spices.
Traditionally in Bulgaria the filling is made of rice steamed in advance, onions, minced meat and spices, heat-treated and crammed into pre-cleaned, washed and riddled with needle peppers. After filling of peppers, they are put in a baking dish, water is added and the dish is baked in the oven. If raw egg is added to the cooled stuffing, filled peppers can be cooked in a pan, as the pods are boiled almost steamed.
Besides minced meat and rice, other fillings may be used, such as vegetables (for example leek) and rice, beans, or fresh cheese and eggs. The peppers themselves can be either fresh or dried. Dried red peppers are used especially in southeastern Serbia around Pirot and Dimitrovgrad, often in winter.
- June Meyers Authentic Hungarian Heirloom Recipes Cookbook