Ljutenica /Ajvar/

Ljutenica is one of the most popular home-made and industrially produced vegetable spreads in Bulgaria and the whole Balkan peninsular. It is known also as Ajvar in Serbia and Pindjur in Macedonia. The ingredients vary in the different regions, but it is usually prepared by a combination of peppers, tomatoes, aubergines, carrots, onion, vegetable oil, salt and pepper.

10 kg red peppers
2 l tomato purée
1 1/2 kg aubergines
500-600 ml vegetable oil
3 tbsp. salt (extra by taste)
5 tbsp. sugar (extra by taste)
hot peppers (optional)
parsley (optional)
Wash and dry the red peppers. Remove the seeds.
Bake the pepers over open fire. That gives them a nice smoky flavor. Place the already baked peppers in a container with a lid to cool.
Bake also the aubergines. Let them cool in the container. When open fire is not available, bake the vegetables in the oven, turning them every once in a while.

Peel the skin off the peppers and the aubergines.
Press the vegetables through a vegetable mill.
Mix together the vegetables and the tomato purée. Add vegetable oil and bring to boil at medium-low heat.

Stir constantly, while adding salt and sugar. Taste and if necessary, add more salt and sugar.
Sample the spread over a piece of bread. Add chopped parsley (optional).
Fill the jars with Ljutenica. Sterilize 30 min.