Don’t get confused with the title. This is the same method of cooking I used in preparing “paksiw na pata” or pork knuckle stewed in vinegar before. This time though, I will be using a leaner pork leg cut instead of “pata” or hock and double the quantity of “lechon sauce” to flavor the dish. As suggested by the name, this is more like "lechon paksiw”, only the pork is neither roasted (“lechon”) nor deep fried (“lechon kawali”).
Whilst I also like the simple type of “paksiw” that is soupy and cooked without sugar and soy sauce (sourly-salty type), I am now more biased with this version (sweet-salty-sourly type) with a rich, gravy-like sauce. But both will always generate cravings in me, which of which is depending on my mood for eating.
When your taste buds seem overwhelmed with the usual tomato-based pork or beef dishes, this is the right dish to perk up your appetite. Whilst this involves several hours of slow cooking to be assured of a tender meat, only a few very common ingredients, which most families Filipinos or otherwise, already have in their kitchen or pantry, are needed.
As mentioned before, this dish is a signature entrée of this blog. I have been cooking this for quite a long time and it never fails to amuse me every time I will eat it. This is a tasty dish uniquely Filipino and prepared the Filipino way.
To cook the dish, the main ingredient of course is two big slices of pork leg cut about 1.5 kilograms or 3.3 lbs. It should be washed, drained and cut up to ½ inch by 1½ inches serving sizes.
The other ingredients are 8 gloves garlic, peeled and minced, divided, 2 pcs onions, peeled and sliced, 1 tsp salt or to taste, 2 pcs bay leaves or “laurel”, 1 tsp whole pepper corn, 1 tbsp “patis” or fish sauce , 1½ tbsp brown sugar. ¾ cut vinegar and 2 budget packs or about 1½ cups store-bought prepared “lechon sauce”.
In a heavy casserole pour the vinegar, add onions and 2/3 of the garlic and mash by hand. Repeatedly squeeze the garlic and onion tightly in your palm until they turn mushy and juice extracted has mixed with vinegar. Add the salt and pork pieces into the casserole and thoroughly slather the vinegar mixture to the meat. Add whole pepper corn and bay leaves and cook on low heat.
Simmer with the lid on but once the liquid starts to boil, uncover it to let the vinegar vapors escape. Continue simmering on low heat until the meat renders it own liquid and mix with the vinegar mixture. Continue slow cooking on low heat, with just enough liquid barely gurgling. Stir once in while to attain even cooking. Add hot water if the liquid is drying up, ½ cup at a time. Simmer until the meat is fork tender, about 1 ½ hours.
Separate the meat from the sauce and set aside. Strain the sauce to collect the soft garlic, onion and other spices and set aside. Scoop out the oil that will float on the sauce surface and set aside for sautéing later.
In a heavy casserole or pan, heat about 2 tbsp of oil collected from the sauce. Fry the remaining 1/3 garlic along with the strained onion, garlic, etc in the sizzling oil until aromatic. Add the 1 tbsp of fish sauce and continue sautéing. Pour the sauce and let it boil on low heat. If the sauce seems not enough add about ½ to ¾ cup hot water. Add in brown sugar and “lechon sauce” and simmer further for several minutes. Adjust the seasonings.
Place back the pork in the casserole with the sauce. Continue simmering until the meat is heated through again. Slightly stir from time to time, taking care not to burn the sauce on the bottom. When the sauce has thickened, it’s done.
Transfer in serving bowls and serve with steamed rice. Pour lots of sauce into the bowl as it is excellent to be slathered on piping hot rice. Yummy! :-)
Try this dish and you will have a new perspective with the way you look at “paksiw”, be it “pata” (hock), pork leg or pork belly (“liempo”). c“,)