Pork menudo is a stew dish that reflects the influence of Spanish conquerors to Philippine food. A rich tomato based stew filled with different ingredients such as carrots, potatoes and your fair share of Pork meat and liver. Today, Pork menudo is a regular staple if you eat in a typical karinderya. Honestly, I never liked this dish as a child because I found Pork liver gross. I guess as you grow older, you learn to appreciate the distinct texture and taste of this Offal cut. Of all the Menudo recipes that I have tasted, the few that stood out were always found in your friendly neighborhood hole-in-the-wall karinderya. You got to wonder, what’s their secret?
The secret to great tasting menudo: small cuts!
You see, when one cooks Menudo at home, one usually relies on the Menudo cut that they can get from their suki (favourite vendor) in the palengke (wet market) The problem with this cut is that it’s bigger compared to your humble karinderya’s cut. What I’ve noticed is that karinderya’s tend to cut their Pork menudo’s ingredients into smaller cuts (probably to hide the fact that there’s hardly any meat). By cutting small, each ingredient is given equal space in your spoon. The result is that the flavors and textures of each combine creating a wonderful, mouth-watering experience with each and every bite.
Now that I got your tastebuds curious, lets cook!
Sangkap | Ingredients
- 1 kilo pork neck, cut into cubes
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 Large white onions, diced
- 2 medium-sized red/green capsicum (bell pepper), diced
- 4 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 400 grams hotdogs (thin frankfurts), diced
- 200 grams frozen green peas
- 400 grams garbanzos (chickpeas)
- 1 can liver spread
- Salt and pepper
- Fish Sauce (patis)
- 1/4 kilo pork liver (optional)
Pagluluto | Cooking
1. First thing I want to emphasize is to cut all the ingredients into small pieces. My rule of thumb is to cut is as small as the garbanzos. I know it’s much work but I promise you that the end result will make a difference. The small cuts would make all the ingredients equal when you bite creating a nice contrast of flavors and texture that simply explodes in your mouth!
2. We then fry the potatoes and carrots until halfway soft. Remember that these 2 ingredients take longer to cook so we have to soften them beforehand.
3. Sauté the onions and bell peppers to release the flavors. Afterwards add the tomatoes and pork. (Side note: I’m going to use Pork Neck again because it’s not a fatty cut as discussed in my Tokwa’t Baboy recipe) Season with fish sauce and add a bit of water enough to cover the meat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until pork is halfway tender.
4. Add the tomato paste, liver spread, hotdog, garbanzos, green peas and previously sautéed potatoes and carrots. Add a bit more water if the stew mixture is drying up. If you’re worried that it would get watered down, remember that there is starch in the potatoes and it will thicken up your menudo. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes until pork is tender.
5. (Optional) Some people do not like Pork liver. It is an acquired taste. But I highly recommend as it gives another dimension to the taste of the dish. If you do decide to go for it, add the Pork liver and simmer for another 5 minutes. Afterwards, remove from heat. There should be enough residual heat in the stew now for it to finish cooking the Pork liver and the menudo as a whole.
6. Serve with rice or if you’re my dad, find some pandesal and use as filling.
Speaking from experience, this is one dish that you would actually want to prepare in advanced, freeze and reheat. For some reason, reheated Pork menudo taste 10x better than a freshly cooked batch! I kid you not!