First, there was Speedy’s picadillo, a soup made with tender beef cubes, carrots, potatoes and chayote. Next came a close variation in the form of bulalo picadillo. Then, there was Sam’s picadillo with upo (bottle gourd) in lieu of chayote. And then, there was chicken soup a la picadillo. Now, we have the pork version of Speedy’s picadillo.
It feels like I’ve come a full circle with this one. It also feels like I have perfected the art of making the tastiest and cheapest soup ever. Why? Because this soup was made with soup bones and the scrap meat attached to them. No special cut of meat. Just scrap. But, oh boy, the soup was a wonderful thing. So wonderful that I have made the same recipe on at least three occasions. And the second of those occasions was Alex’s birthday. She had friends over for the weekend and, for their last meal in the house, I served this soup along with baked macaroni. A huge pot of this soup and nothing was left except a few pieces of veggies.
Must be really good, I told myself. Those soup bones really do their work in a magical way. Plus, did you know that the tastiest meat is that which clings to the bone? The farther away from the bone the meat is, the less tasty it is. That’s true for fish too. The head, which in some countries is deemed unfit for human consumption, is the most flavorful part of the fish. Same thing with poultry. If you’ve ever wondered why chicken breast is less flavorful than the meat from the back of the chicken, it’s because of the distance of the breast meat from the bone.
Now, the obvious question: What if there is not enough meat in the soup bones? Diced pork, any cut, will be a passable substitute but you won’t get the same rich texture in your soup. But if you’re going to ask if the soup can be made with broth cubes, I will say go broaden your horizon and stop thinking in terms of short cuts.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable cooking oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 tomatoes diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups diced cooked pork
- 1 chayote peeled, cored and cut into half-inch cubes
- 1 large carrot peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
- 2 potatoes peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
- 6 to 8 cups bone broth
- patis (fish sauce) to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
Heat the cooking oil in a large pot.
Add the diced onion, tomatoes and garlic. Cook gently over medium heat until softened, about seven minutes.
Add the pork and vegetables. Pour in the broth. Season with patis and pepper. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for twenty minutes.
A final note: The vegetables will absorb a lot of the saltiness in the broth. So, before serving, taste the broth and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.