Fit for a fiesta

Fit for a fiesta
PHOTO: The New Paper

The wonderful thing about pork menudo is that you can do a simple version as an everyday dish, or dress it up with more ingredients for a party with family and friends.

Pork menudo is a Philippine stew of Spanish origins.

The sauteing of onions, garlic and tomatoes in oil is similar to the preparation of sofrito in Spanish cuisine.

Menudo usually features pork and liver, but the mix of ingredients can vary, depending on region and individual preference.

It is a classic party dish that is served at fiestas and social gatherings.

IMPROVISED

Filipino comic artist Mark Torres, 37, who lives in Manila, often cooks his version of menudo using pork, carrots and potatoes.

He learnt how to cook the dish from his mother, and he improvised her recipe by cooking the pork for 20 minutes to get a smokier flavour before adding the tomato sauce.

He said: "Menudo means home and family to me. I think that is what makes food special, no matter how simple or complicated a dish is. It is that emotional hook."

Spinning off Mr Torres' recipe, I decided to go the whole hog and make a fiesta version of menudo with chorizo sausages, raisins, chickpeas and peas.

I also threw in bell peppers for colour and crunch.

The richness of the stew is well balanced by the tangy tomato sauce, and it goes well with rice or bread.

With its bold and bright colours and flavour, menudo is a perfect party dish that is fairly straightforward to prepare.

Open a bottle of wine or two and you are all set for an intimate get-together with family or friends over the weekend.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion (120g), chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves (40g), minced
  • 1 tomato (125g), diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 600g pork collar, cubed (3cm by 3cm)
  • 2 cans (425g each) tomato sauce
  • 500ml water
  • 2 sausages (250g), sliced 1cm-thick
  • 1 large carrot (200g), cubed (2cm by 2cm)
  • 2 potatoes (500g), cubed (2cm by 2cm)
  • 1 red bell pepper (cut into 2cm squares)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (cut into 2cm squares)
  • 90g raisins
  • 1 can (390g) chickpeas
  • 100g peas
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce

METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in deep frying pan or pot.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and fry until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the tomato and fry for another minute. Throw in the bay leaves.
  3. Add the pork and fry for two minutes until it turns opaque. (A)
  4. Turn the heat down to low, put the lid on and allow the pork to cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir and add the tomato sauce and water. Let the mixture come to a simmering boil.
  6. In the meantime, heat a non-stick frying pan and fry the sausage slices for three minutes until slightly browned. Set aside. (B)
  7. Add the carrot and potato. Cook for eight minutes or until the potato cubes are tender.
  8. Add the sausage, bell peppers, raisins and chickpeas. (C)
  9. Allow the mixture to reach a simmering boil.
  10. Add the peas. Let the mixture reach a simmering boil.
  11. Add the sugar.
  12. Season with salt and light soy sauce.
APhoto: The New Paper
BPhoto: The New Paper
CPhoto: The New Paper

Wine pairing

Robert Parker Wine Advocate communications director Patrick Sauze recommended two wines to go with pork menudo.

RUTINI MALBEC 2013, RP91

Wine Advocate described this red wine from Argentina as an elegant and classic Malbec with "aromas of raspberry leaf, fruits and flowers".

  • ST Wine Fair price: $64.
  • Usual price: $80 (Asia Wine Network)

PIERRE AMADIEU "LE PAS DE L'AIGLE" GIGONDAS 2012, RP90-92

This southern Rhone red is a full-bodied blend of Grenache and Syrah.

Wine Advocate's tasting notes said the wine's purple blue colour is "accompanied by scents of blueberries, camphor, burning embers and forest floor".

  • ST Wine Fair price: $69.
  • Usual price: $78 (Le Vigne)

Toast to the finer side of life

Head down to the first ST Wine Fair organised by The Straits Times in association with wine authority Robert Parker Wine Advocate.

The fair will showcase a curated selection of more than 100 wines, all RP-rated and available for tasting.

Wines rated RP90 to RP95 are outstanding, while those rated RP96 to RP100 are extraordinary.

Visitors can enjoy discounts and exclusive promotions for exquisite wines at the fair.

ST WINE FAIR

  • WHEN: Saturday, 1pm to 6pm
  • WHERE: Senator, Embassy and Consulate (Level one function rooms) at The St Regis Singapore, 29, Tanglin Road
  • ENTRY: $20 per person. Entrance fee can be redeemed for a $20 discount on any ST Wine Club Gold or Platinum subscription purchased at the event.

Tickets are available at www.STwine.sg

For inquiries, e-mail STwine@sph.com.sg or call 6319-5076 during office hours.

hedykhoo@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 2, 2017.
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