Perhaps calling this dish “dinuguan” is misleading in that it strays quite far from the traditional definition of the dish that uses internal organs. But if you treat “dinuguan” as a method of cooking instead, then maybe the name would still be acceptable… But the name doesn’t really matter once you taste it. I thought it was a real revelation. :) Nice chunky bits of meaty lechon, mixed with lechon sisig for added flavor and texture and coated with a silky thick blood sauce with lots of lemongrass and chilis. This is the dish that seems to have finally gotten me over the dinuguan phobia I used to have…
Into a large kawali or wok went 2-3 tablespoons of finely minced garlic, some 6-7 tablespoons of sliced red onions, 1-2 tablespoons of minced ginger, and lots of sliced chilis together with 3-4 tablespoons of lard. This was sauteed for a few minutes until soft. The chilies in this photo look excessive, but that’s only because they were incredibly mild; so mild, in fact, I added ten more siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilis) later in the process to ramp up the spice. Adjust volume of chilis to your own personal heat preference.
Next I added approximately half a kilo of lechon sisig, the smaller cuts, skin, cartilage, fat and meat added flavor and texture to the dish. This was sauteed for a few minutes and the rendered fat added richness to the sauce.
I then added a kilo and a half of freshly cooked lechon, cut into cubes. The cubes turned out later to be a bit big, so make sure you make them bite-sized pieces. These were meaty peices from the thigh, and again, in retrospect, one could have used a mix to provide a bit more fat if desired. Next I added some 5-6 cups of fragrant pork and lemongrass stock and let this simmer for at least 12-15 minutes until the lechon meat had softened further. Oh, don’t forget several bay leaves and lots of cracked black pepper and salt and vinegar to taste.
Approximately 3+ cups of pig’s blood was added to the pot and we stirred constantly and within a minute or so, this silky and rather thick sauce just materialized. The seasoning was adjusted and a few minutes later the dish was done.
Let me again reiterate that this was not a traditional dinuguan. But it was a REALLY GOOD dinuguan, in my opinion. Chunky bits of meat swimming in a nicely thickened and flavored blood sauce. The sisig made you wonder what exactly were you eating.
Biting into the lechon resulted in a little burst of lechon flavor, that then mixed in with the dinuguan sauce. YUM. Great with rice. I was on a diet but I still ate several pieces of meat. If I could have added a little more of something to make it better, it would have been a little more lechon fat instead of using such lean meat. :)
We made enough dinuguan for the crew in the office, then I packaged some up and put it in the freezer. I wanted to see if the dinuguan would travel and reheat well. The following day, I brought several containers for us to try in Manila and it reheated nicely.
The crew tried to jazz up the rather brown and muddy looking dish. But the proof is in the taste. I wonder just how many of you might be tempted to try such a dish. Though I would also definitely have to serve the traditional dinuguan made with innards right by its side… It’s a bit of a morbid way to finish this post, but the heart does indeed pump blood, and today is “heart day”… so Happy Valentine’s to all. :)