Filipino pork menudo is not the same as Mexican menudo although it is probable that the local pork stew is an adaptation of the Mexican beef tripe soup. Pork menudo is comfort food for many Filipinos of my generation and, although considered an everyday dish, it is not unusual to serve it on special occasions.
Filipino pork menudo is a tomato-based stew with diced pork belly, pork liver, potatoes, carrots, lots of raisins and, occasionally, slices of hotdog (I’m willing to bet that variant with hotdogs are a post-Spanish era addition). The sweet raisins balance the acidity of the tomatoes while the pork liver thickens the sauce.
Most Filipino pork menudo recipes use canned tomato sauce. My father never did. Instead, he used chopped tomatoes that liquefy during the slow cooking to provide just enough liquid in which to cook the meat without making the stew too soupy. Additionally, my father marinated the pork cubes in a little soy sauce before browning them in hot oil.
My version of Filipino pork menudo follows my father’s recipe closely. However, instead of marinating the meat in soy sauce, I used liquid seasoning. And, instead of simmering the stew on the stovetop, I used the slow cooker. Less stirring, less peeking, less work.
- 1 kilo pork belly, skin on
- 2 tablespoons liquid seasoning (I used Knorr)
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ¼ cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cubed
- ½ cup sweet peas
- 3 jumbo hotdogs, sliced into thin rings
- ¼ kilo pork liver, diced
- Cut the pork belly into one-inch cubes. Place in a bowl, pour in the liquid seasoning and mix well. Cover the bowl and let the meat marinate for at least an hour in the fridge.
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan. Brown the marinated pork in the hot oil. Scoop out and transfer to the slow cooker.
- In the remaining oil, saute the onion, bell pepper, garlic, oregano and bay leaves with a little salt and pepper. Add to the pork in the slow cooker along with the raisins and chopped tomatoes. Stir. Cook on LOW for four to five hours. Taste occasionally and add more salt and pepper, as needed.
- When the pork is done, stir in the potato and carrot cubes. Continue cooking for another 20 minutes on LOW.
- Taste the sauce, the potato and carrot cubes would have absorbed a lot of the saltiness so you may need to add more salt at this point.
- Dump in the peas, hotdog sliced and pork liver. Cook on LOW for another 10 minutes.
- For best results, cool the pork menudo and chill in the fridge overnight. Reheat gently on the stovetop and serve with rice or pan de sal.