This is my post for the fourth round of Lasang Pinoy â€“ a blogging event that brings together over 40 “Filipino” food blogs from around the worldâ€¦ Check out many of the other entries by reading the round up on Lafang List that will be posted in a few daysâ€¦
My original intention was to feature a grand cocido or pochero for Lasang Pinoy 4â€¦ but the past week has been totally crazed what with the photo-napping incident, the Eye Ball, some work related issues, several events to attend, and rushing out of town for a few days over the long weekend aheadâ€¦ so I decided to opt for a simpler dish though with the same soul as a more involved and extravagant cocido. Soul food for me, in any nationality, is food that warms the soul, lifts spirits, makes you happy to be who you are, and what you are. It is food that says you are okay, that life isnâ€™t so bad, that itâ€™s a pretty good ride, in fact. It is something that you could eat on just about any day of the year. It usually conjures up good memories or helps you avoid bad ones. Every once in a while, I contemplate life over a simple bowl of soup and I take stock and think, I have been extremely lucky. I am grateful for everything I have experienced so far. That if it so happens that my time is up and I need to move on, I will go peacefully, my soul completely content. Here is the simplest of soul foodâ€¦ a Nilagang Baka a la Marketman.
To make, cut some good beef brisket into large cubes. Brisket has a lot of litid (gristle) and fat and can withstand (actually needs) a lengthy boil to get it nice and tender. Some people use a pressure cooker to achieve maximum softness but ours is currently broken. Fill a pot with about 4 times the volume of water as beef cubes and simmer beef with a chopped onion and some peppercorns for about 2 hours until tender. Skim the scum off of the top of the soup so it doesnâ€™t have all those floaties when itâ€™s done. You can strain this all if you want to remove some of the impurities. When the meat with soft and you have a nice hearty broth, add potatoes and/or saba bananas and cook until just done, add pechay or other greens such as cabbage or even some chopped corn on the cob, season with salt and pepper and serve hot with some steamed rice. There are several variations on this, including adding beef cubes for further flavor, using bones to add complexity to the broth, getting fancy with the greensâ€¦but whatever you do, the essence is a flavorful bowl of beef broth with some veggies and starch to round it out. Those who want to add flavor can use a dipping sauce of patis (fish sauce) and calamansi (calamondin). Throw in a chopped chilli into your dipping sauce and you have added zing as wellâ€¦ this is one of my all-time favorites, far more â€œsoul foodâ€ than the fancier cocido or pochero which I promise to post sometime in December in time for the holidays… Enjoy!