Have a feast with this classic Filipino Menudo recipe. A tomato-based stew of pork meat and liver usually served at special occasions like Fiestas.
May is the month for Flores de Mayo in the Philippines. Flores de Mayo is an old tradition that we inherited from the Spanish time that gives tribute to Mama Mary by offering flowers at the altar in churches. It culminates with a ‘Santacruzan‘- a religious-historical pageant parade that depicts the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, who ended the prosecution of Christians. This tradition is still very much alive today.
May is also the month where most of the Fiestas occur, being the last month of the dry season (before global warming that is). Filipino fiestas are an event to behold. Each town or even the smallest barangays celebrate their own Fiesta, the date usually depends on who is their patron is. This is the Filipino way of thanksgiving and sharing one’s blessings to others.
We lived in San Fernando, Pampanga, and our Fiesta is 30th of May. I remember people would be coming in our house all throughout the day to celebrate with us, of course, this means food. Imagine feeding hundreds of people in a day, some you actually meet for the first time.
But of course, we also had our share of ‘pakiki-fiesta’ (us going to friends’ or relatives’ fiesta). This is an event that every foodie should experience. It is like a colorful parade of the best (Filipino) food; Hamonado, Embutido, Lumpiang Shanghai, Arroz Valenciana and more. Of course, among them is the ever present Menudo.
You can find different recipes for Menudo as people cook it differently or add other ingredients to it. But Menudo is not Menudo without the liver (and hotdogs..hehe). So far there are two kinds of Menudo I know. The traditional one I know from my Lola and Mama and the other one that is a bit sour from marinating the meat and liver with calamansi (a small local citrus that is really sour).
If you ask me which one I prefer, I could not easily give an answer. I love Menudo both ways, that is for sure. It is more like a mood thing.
- 1 lemon or 6 big calamansi (optional)
- 500 grams pork, cut into bite-size cubes
- 250 grams liver (pork), cut into bite-size cubes
- 4 pieces of hotdogs/sausage, cut into small diagonal slices
- 3 Tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 500 grams tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
- 2 medium carrots, cut into cubes
- 1½ - 2 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 small red bell pepper, cut into squares
- 1 cup green peas (canned) - optional
- If you want, marinate both the pork meat and liver with calamansi or lemon juice for at least 10 minutes.
- In a deep skillet, saute garlic and onion in oil over medium heat until limp and translucent.
- Add the pork and cook, stirring constantly, until all sides are no longer pink. Pour the tomato sauce and 1 cup water and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, covered.
- Add the liver and cook for some seconds while constantly stirring until sides are done.
- Then add the hotdogs, carrots, potatoes and bell pepper. Add another cup of water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let it simmer, stirring from time to time, for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked. Stir in the green peas and cook for another minute.
- Serve with rice or bread.
If you've got the time, cook the pork meat longer over low heat to make sure the meat is really tender. You may use pork shoulder.
If in a hurry, use a more tender cut like the loin. Pork belly may be added.