Afritada is another one of those tomato sauce based stews that was introduced in the Philippines by the Spaniards. It is not, however, the same as other tomato sauce based stews. Though similar in appearance, kaldereta‘s sauce is thickened with mashed liver, mechado uses thick beef slices with a cube of fat inserted at the center, callos is served with olives and its sauce is sticky because of the ligaments from the beef pata, pochero is additionally served with green vegetables and is accompanied by a spicy egglant sauce and menudo has cubes of pork liver and is cooked with guisantes (chick peas) and raisins.
This was our dinner last Monday. I always thought I already had an afritada recipe in this blog. We have it so often because it is one of my 10-year-old daughter’s favorites (she loves anything with tomato sauce). So, I was really surprised when a reader commented that he couldn’t find a recipe of afritada. I checked the database and… what do you know? It really wasn’t there. ;-P
So, here is my recipe for afritada. When I’m not feeling too lazy, I’ll cook mechado (inserting the fat into the meat is a lot of work) and cocido and complete my collection of recipes for tomato sauce based stews in my blog.
750 g. of pork liempo (belly)
*You may also use the shoulder or rump
250 g. of stewing potatoes
2 red or green bell peppers
3/4 c. of frozen sweet peas, thawed
3/4 c. of tomato paste
2 c. of meat broth or water
6 tbsps. of olive oil
1 whole garlic
2 large onions
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. of dried basil
1/2 tsp. of dried oregano
1/2 tsp. of dried rosemary
*Note: double the amount if using fresh basil, oregano and rosemary
Cooking procedure :
Cut the pork into 2 x 2 inch cubes.
Peel and finely mince the garlic. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.
Heat the olive oil in a thick-bottomed casserole. When hot, add the pork cubes and cook over high heat until the edges start to brown. The pork will initially expel water. Just keep the heat up until the mixture dries up and the pork starts to render fat. Then cook the pork in the mixture of fat and oil until the edges start to brown. At this point, you can pour off the fat.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves and tomato paste to the pork and stir well. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the meat broth and water, stir, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the vegetables. Peel the carrots and potatoes and cut into wedges. Peel the onions and cut into chunks. Core and seed the bell peppers and dice.
Add the vegetables to the stew. Stir well. Add the basil, oregano and rosemary. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are done. Add more broth or water if necessary. Add only about half a cup each time to avoid thinning the sauce. Adjust the seasonings. Finally, add the sweet peas and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Let stand for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors.