We have been quite busy for the past several months and my cooking has been alternately quickies or leisurely-cooking while working. The quickies in the kitchen of course are my stir-fry veggies, quilos, fried meat/fish, halabos (shellfish cooked with salt and from its own juice and no water at all), easy soups and the likes. And when I say leisurely-cooking while working, this is slow-cooking for hours that I always make it a point to set my alarm clock every 30 minutes just so I won’t burn anything and trigger the smoke detector. Of course, leisurely styles of cooking like braising and stewing makes melt-in-the-mouth meals not possible with the quickies.
Here is paksiw na pata that has a melt-in-your-mouth texture – pork leg stewed in vinegar, sugar and spices with bulaklak ng saging, which literally means ‘banana blossoms’ but actually edible dried tiger lily buds sometimes called golden needles.
Pata (pork leg, choose one that’s meaty)
1/2 cup of crushed garlic
1 medium-sized onion cut into quarters
a cup of lily buds
2 pieces bay leaves
about 10 pcs. peppercorns
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
4-5 tbsp of sugar
Put the pork leg into a pot of boiling water (about 6-7 cups enough to cover the pata) and simmer with lid closed for an hour. Add the rest of the ingredients except the vinegar and bring to a boil. Then add the vinegar without stirring. Let the stew remain at a simmer for another couple of hours or more or until tender, adding more water if necessary. (In my case, a total of 5 hours.)
Remove the pata from the pot and transfer to another plate. Run your knife on one side to separate the meat from the bone and get rid of the bone. (This is the time when you may stop the cooking if ever you decide to go out for a meeting or whatever and continue at a later time or the next day.) Transfer the pata to a skillet and continue simmering with the remaining sauce until there’s about a cup or two of sauce left. Serve with plain rice and steamed vegetables.
You could debone first (that means after an hour of simmering) before adding all the other ingredients (i.e. soy sauce, vinegar, etc.) and proceed to cooking.Â You may also cook the potatoes in the stew instead of steaming them separately.