A desperate cook on weekends (who is missing a fully functional kitchen) and an Associate Professor the rest of the week, this blog chronicles my weekend culinary adventures in my hometown and the food I feed my family who scratches their heads when I make something unusual.
Puchero is a Sunday dish my Mom used to make for the family as a Sunday lunch meal. We would go to mass at 7am and after mass, we go straight to the market to buy what we will need to prepare for lunch and the rest of the week. I have always loved going to the market as a child with all the different sights and smells to savor. The meat section will smell strongly of freshly butchered meat while the seafood area was always wet and muddy. There is also the area where they sell street fare and a favorite of mine is the halo-halo which is why it is no wonder I was fat as a child (or maybe I was just born fat).
We seldom buy meat for the fact that my Dad has certain unexplained allergies to them so we were stuck with fish which was okay by me as well. Every now and then though, we will have a meat dish especially on Sundays and it is always a highlight of the week for the family. This version of puchero is the only one I knew growing up and it was actually quite a surprise for me to learn later on in life how different it is compared to versions offered in restaurants. My Mom's puchero is earthier and more basic but will definitely satisfy anyone who yearns for a home-cooked meal. She even takes it a notch further by cooking the stew in a clay pot fed with charcoal and chopped wood which I thinks adds another dimension to the otherwise simple flavor. I'll have to cook mine on a glass top electric stove though.
In honor of my Dad this Father's Day weekend, I'm offering my Mom's pucehro, one of my Dad's favorites.
Puchero ala *Lagring
2 lbs pork, cut into chunks
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 bay leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
4-6 cups water
2-3 medium sized carrots
1 lb cabbage, cored and chopped into large pieces
2 medium sized yams
2 pieces plantain bananas (almost ripe)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil on medium heat. Add the
bay leaves and saute until they release their aroma.
2. Brown the pork in the saute mixture and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the water and let it simmer for about 40-50 minutes. Add the
carrots, yams and bananas and simmer for another 20-30 minutes.
4. Check for flavor and adjust accordingly. Add the cabbage and let it
cook for a minute or two until just tender. Serve with white rice.
I like to keep my stew a bit thick so I use less water. It concentrates the flavor more and you end up with a very good broth to slurp on. Also, make sure that you chop the vegetables the same size as the meat.