MY Offally good recipes are two of the more common applications of innards and off-cuts in Filipino cooking. Luckily, our cuisine still makes good use of most cuts and the innards, unlike other more squeamish countries. Even in the streets, as snacks, a myriad of innards and off-cuts are skewered, grilled and dipped in spicy vinegar, enjoyed all around the country. You are never a few corners away from a neighborhood isawan, even in the city centers.
Callos is of Spanish descent, but its flavors are very familiar to our everyday dishes. Usually associated with special occasions, callos’s main ingredients are cheap, easily available and, with some patience, results in a rich dish that can feed a lot for very little. With the exception of chorizo bilbao (which is used sparingly), the whole stew is made up of very inexpensive parts, which take quite some time to soften. But the hours waiting are well worth the trouble, as the stew is one of the stickiest, richest dishes you can cook. I suggest cooking the ox feet and tripe over coals, as seven hours of simmering can put a serious dent on your LPG tank.
Dinuguan exemplifies our country’s love for anything and everything pork. It uses up (and can hide) all the bits that are great to eat but you would rather not know about. My version, the thicker, drier kind with crunchy bits, was made popular in Northern Luzon.
Instead of stewing the innards in vinegar and blood, crispy-fried intestines, ears and bits of belly provide texture to the typically all-tender blood stew.
Using all parts of the animal is not only an inexpensive way to cook, but it also shows appreciation and respect to the animals we eat on a daily basis. These recipes are only a suggestion, two of the more common dishes that shouldn’t be too much trouble for the squeamish. Incorporating offal on your weekly menu will not only save you some money, but it is also an enjoyable way to avoid wasting perfectly good parts of animals. And since Halloween is just around the corner, there is no better time to bring the gore to the table.
2 pcs pork ears
500g pork intestines (bituka), cleaned very well and sliced into 1 inch sections
500g pork intestines (bulaklak part), cleaned well
500g pork belly
1 onion, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
4 cups pork blood
1/2 cup-1 cup vinegar (depending on how sour you want it)
3 pcs green finger chili
salt and pepper to taste
Boil ears and belly till tender. Do the same with both intestine parts.
Slice base part (thick part) of ears off and set aside. Slice the flat part of the ears into strips.
Slice belly into small bite-sized pieces.
Deep-fry belly pieces, pork intestine pieces (bituka) and pork ear strips until golden and crispy.
Deep-fry bulaklak whole until golden, cut into small pieces and fry again until crispy and golden.
Set all deep-fried pieces aside.
Slice ear (base) into small pieces. Sauté in oil until slightly browned, and add onions and garlic.
Add vinegar, salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add blood while stirring constantly.
Add green chili and continue to simmer until desired thickness is achieved.
Add fried pieces into dinuguan just before serving.
500g ox tripe, cleaned very well
500g ox feet, cleaned well
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large Chorizo Bilbao, sliced into rounds
2 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 large onion, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
2 tbsp Spanish paprika
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 liter beef stock (from ox feet)
500g crushed tomato
1 small bottle pitted green olives
1-1/2 cups cooked garbanzos
1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp salt
In separate heavy-bottomed pots, place tripe and feet and cover with water. Let boil and throw liquid away. Top up water and let boil again. Add a few spoons of rock salt and let simmer till tender. I cook mine over coals to save on gas. Tripe takes around 4 hours. Ox feet took 7 hours to tenderize.
When both are tender, take out of liquid and let cool. Save liquid from ox feet.
Slice tripe into1/2-inch by 2-inch strips. Pick bones from tender ox feet. Slice into pieces similar in size to tripe.
To make sauce, sauté chorizo in olive oil. When chorizo pieces are a bit toasted, take them out. In the same oil, sauté red bell pepper, onion and garlic.
Add Spanish paprika, tomato paste and crushed tomato. Add beef stock (liquid from boiling ox feet). Add garbanzos, olives, salt and pepper.
Add tripe and picked and sliced ox feet pieces to the sauce. Simmer for another 30 minutes or till the sauce reaches your desired thickness. Make sure to stir once in a while to prevent food from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Serve hot with crusty bread or rice.
Image credits: Michael Anthony Sagaran