Zakuski

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A delicious vegetable mix, very popular in East Europe. Zakuski, as called in Russian, or Zacusca, as the Romanians call it, is a way of mixing vegetables for the long and heavy winters that cross East Europe, when the procuration of fresh legumes was once a problem. Zacusca is a vegetable paste that is generously spread on bread and eaten as an appetizer or as light dinner. If the bread is a toast, is even better. The ingredients bellow are for at least ten jars of Zacuski. If you only want to taste, diminish the quantities.

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Ingredients:

* 6 kg eggplants
* 6 kg tomatoes
* 1.5 litre oil
* 2 heads garlic (optional)
* 4 spoons salt
* 5 kg red sweet bellpeppers (gogosari)
* 4 kg onions
* 2-3 chilli peppers (optional)
* pepper, paprika (sweet or hot)

Preparation:

Bake the eggplants, peel and leave them to drain out the juice. Clean and cut the bellpeppers, chillis, onions and stir fry them in hot oil. Add the cubes of tomatoes. Leave on fire for 1 hour but stir from time to time. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and bring to boil again. When ready, it should look like a thick dark red paste. Conservate it in well-closed jars with a thin layer of oil on top. Hint: You can add (optional): celery, beans, mushrooms, carrots.

Serve it with slices of bread and with Merlot or hot tea.

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