Some of you may remember my Lechon story from last year in which I explained that the wife and I alternate between our families each Thanksgiving. Since we spent last Thanksgiving eating Lechon (Filipino roasted pig) and other goodies with my family, we spent this past Thanksgiving eating turkey and other goodies with my wife's family.
As usual, I had a wonderful time with the in-laws this year, and as usual I couldn't help but have fatty pork on the brain. Knowing that I'd be needing to satisfy a serious lechon fix, I called my grandmother with specific instructions to send a heapful of leftovers back with my parents since I'd be seeing them the next day. Usually requests like this are futile--any goodies meant for me are almost always intercepted by rogue vultures (i.e. my brothers) long before they are within my grasp. This time however, the pork gods smiled upon me as the foil-wrapped piggy package arrived safely, unscathed and uneaten.
What to do with leftover roasted pig? Make Paksiw na Lechon: number 3 with a bullet on the Five Point Pork Exploding Heart Technique.
Paksiw na Lechon is a Filipino dish that is usually made from leftover lechon. Like an adobo, Paksiw na Lechon is cooked in vinegar, but the sauce is then also thickened, enriched, and sweetened with the liver dipping sauce that is sometimes served with the roast pig. This sweet liver sauce can be made from the liver of the roasted pig itself, or it can also be a bottled liver sauce that is bought from the store, such as the popular Mang Tomas brand.
Since I didn't have any sort of liver sauce on hand (made from pork liver, bottled, or otherwise), I decided to jerry-rig my own liver sauce using chicken livers. And continuing with the pork and apple combo that I last tried with my Pork Belly Adobo, I again incorporated some apples into this dish by throwing some diced apples into the liver sauce, along with some apple brandy I still had from the fruitcake I baked some time ago.
I've never had Paksiw na Lechon before, so I can't truthfully say if my version tastes as it should taste. But my finished dish did taste tart and sweet, which is how it's supposed to be, I assume, considering that many recipes I found online added a considerable amount of sugar to the vinegar-based stew. The sweetness in my dish comes from both sugar and the apples. And I will venture to say that my Paksiw na Lechon at least tasted good, and that has to count for something right?
Paksiw na Lechon
2 tablespoons bacon grease, or canola oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 pound leftover lechon, skin and meat, roughly chopped
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups liver sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup water
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and saute until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, EXCEPT the liver sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the liver sauce and the last 1/2 cup water to the pan and stir to combine. Continue simmering for another 30 minutes, adding more water if the pan becomes too dry or if the sauce becomes too thick.
Taste the sauce and season appropriately, again adding more water to obtain desired consistency. Serve with steamed white rice.
Lechon Liver Sauce
Makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cups
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 small granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 pound chicken livers
1/3 cup apple brandy (regular brandy can be used as well)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup water
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and the apples and saute until softened, about 10 minutes.
Move the onions and apples to the perimeter of the pan. Melt the last tablespoon of butter in the center of the pan, then add the chicken livers. Cook the chicken livers until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.
Turn off the heat, then CAREFULLY add the brandy to the pan to deglaze. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with a spoon or spatula. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and water to the pan, return to high heat, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove pan from heat, and allow liver mixture to cool slightly. Pour contents of pan into a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. The consistency of the sauce should be similar to ketchup. Add more water if necessary.