The Trifecta: Paksiw Na Lechon, Mechado, Dinuguan
My holidays wouldn't be complete without indulging in home cooked Filipino food. Holiday mornings meant sauteed garlic, onions, tomatoes and cabbage with canned corned beef, topped with two fried eggs and garlic fried rice. Beef-Si-Log as we Filipinos dearly call this dish of corned BEEF, SInangag (garlic fried rice) and itLOG (egg). This Father's Day didn't start out as planned. Instead of my usual meal, we opted to have brunch at Bloom for a good 'ol American breakfast, which was fantastic - though not Filipino. As to not disappoint tradition, I planned to have a Filipino meal for
dinner later in the evening. The Gods surely heard my pleas when my good friend and Filipino food expert, Dr, Julie Blanco, texted me to let me know that she has reserved some paksiw na lechon for me! I also brought home some dinuguan and mechado from the previous evening's party prepared by the godfather of Filipino cuisine in Grand Rapids, Rudy Seguira - the head baker at the Amway Grand Plaza.
Paksiw na Lechon is a roast suckling pig in liver sauce. This is one of two dishes that reminds me of my lola's (grandmother) cooking. Amelia Laurel Carandang was the matriarch of our family, widowed during World War II, she raised her four kids while perfecting the the local cuisine. Aside from paksiw na lechon, which she normally made with left over lechon (roasted suckling pig), I also loved her nilagang manok, a chicken dish with potatoes, cabbage in chicken broth, a perfect dih during the hot summer months in Manila.
Mechado is beef stew with tomatoes, pimento, potatoes, garlic, onions and bacon to name a few of the ingredients. It's a dish influenced by the Spaniards who ruled the Philippines for 300 years.
Dinuguan or Blood Stew is a dish I hated as a child, but for some miraculous reason, is one of my favored dishes as an adult. Dinuguan is one of those dishes found in most Filipino get togethers, however, with foreigners present, we simply are mum to it's ingredients as not to freak the visitor out. Pork scraps such as skin, intestines, stomach, ears are cooked in blood sausage until it is thick as stew. It resembles a deconstructed blood sausage by the French and English. I told my wife (who is an American) it was a pork stew. She actually liked it not knowing the the true origins of the meat and sauce.
So this was my Filipino Trifecta for Father's Day. I am sure that most of my Filipino comrades would agree that this is as close to heaven as it gets for our special day.