Hello! And welcome back to my latest installment of posts. I know, it’s been quite a while–about a week to be exact. But you know, there’s been a lot going on. Last week was a little weird; it always is when holidays fall in the middle of the week. My fourth of July was great. We cooked (obviously) and had a chill night with family. First, we made delicious pork ribs with my mom’s amazing barbecue marinade and grilled by my dear ol’ dad. As a side we also threw some corn and other veggies on the grill. And I tried my hand at making homemade ice cream–post to come later this week! But that’s not what brings you here today. Today, we’re here to talk about yet another Filipino stew. This one’s called, Menudo.
It’s hard to believe that Filipinos ever cook anything other than a stew, right? We do, I promise. But for some reason they just don’t appear as often on this blog. I think it’s because we eat family style in my house, and stews are not only some of the easiest things to make, they’re the easiest to share among a family. Not to mention they also happen to be some of my favorite recipes. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but stews are extremely easy to make. Filipino stews in particular are some of the best one-pot meals you’ll ever have. Case in point: I write about Filipino stews a lot.
Anyways, back to Menudo. We didn’t have menudo a lot growing up; just enough that I fell in love with it and wondered why we didn’t have hit more often. Turns out, it’s one of my dad’s absolute favorites so my grandma would make it. But after she and my Lolo moved out, we didn’t have it as much. A) because my mom didn’t really love it and B) because my siblings never really requested it. But I must have always loved it because years later I still had fond–albeit faint–memories of menudo. So, of course, I actively sought out the recipe.
Menudo is a pork stew, but it’s a multi-pork stew. It’s made with pork chunk or pork belly, like Sinigang. But one of it’s most crucial ingredients happens to be pork liver. I’ll be honest. I do not like pork liver–it’s a texture thing. I don’t even eat it when I make this dish. Usually, I just eat around it and/or give my pieces to my parents. So, Alyssa, what’s the point of even adding pork liver to this dish if you don’t like it? Why not just leave it?! You’re quite right, inner voice. It would be so much cheaper and more palatable if I just left it out. But I don’t.
I have eaten versions of menudo without liver. And let me tell you, they’re not as good as the real thing. It’s like baking vegan–it’s close, and tastes fine, but it just isn’t like the real thing. The liver, like pretty much every component you add to cooking, adds a layer of taste to the dish. The taste is hard to describe. It just tastes like liver. It’s a tad tart, a tad spicy, and a bit tougher in texture when cooked. But adding pork liver balances out the sweetness in the stew’s broth, So, I don’t eat it, but I still think it’s important to include anyways. Other than the meats, we add red bell pepper and fried potatoes to ours.
To cook menudo, start off very similarly to Chicken Casserole. Lightly fry potatoes so to give them a bit of extra texture and to help prep for aromatics. Then, start the broth off with the Filipino foundation of garlic and onions. The broth is just tomatoes, tomato sauce and water. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t love tomatoes whole but I do love a great tomato stew. All together the broth is now aromatic, sweet, tart, thick and lusciously delicious. Add the pork, liver, and veggies and let it all stew together until cooked through.
Just like that you’ve got yourself yet another scrumptious Filipino stew–one of my absolute favorites. Bonus tip: I like to eat my menudo all mixed together. I put the rice on my plate, put the menudo (sans liver) with extra sauce on top and then mix it up. Feel free to eat yours how you like. Even if that includes a bit of the pork liver!
Which Filipino stew is your favorite?
Menudo: Filipino Pork Stew
- 2 lbs pork butt chopped
- 1 lb pork liver chopped
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb red potatoes chopped or quartered
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 plum tomatoes chopped
- 1-2 cups water
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1-2 large red bell peppers chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
Generously season the pork and liver with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat oil in a pot on high heat. Add the red potatoes and lightly fry them on each side. Remove to plate.
Heat more oil if necessary. Lower the heat to medium high. Add the garlic and onions until soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue to saute until wilted and a little watery, an additional 4-5 minutes.
Mix in the pork and liver and saute for an additional 2 minutes until it's light brown. Add the water until it's almost fully covered. Mix in the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil.
Lower heat to simmer through. Simmer until cooked, about 25-30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes, add the potatoes and red bell peppers again. Serve with rice!