The mercury in Manila early morning has dropped to a shockingly cold 22C or 71F! PAGASA (National Weather Service) reports that it is due to the tail end of a cold front bringing frigid air from China, and combined with heavy rains, this meant uncontrolled shivering across the metropolis yesterday. As collegialas to matronas and their significant others went thrashing about their closets for their sweaters, jackets and pashminas (style gurus forbid boots, I tell you)… all thoughts turned to something warm and comforting to eat. If it were bright and sunny and 70F all year round in Manila, my happiness quotient would rise dramatically. Instead, I need airconditiioning most of the time to keep out of the hot and bothered zone. But yesterday was the perfect day for this soup, a Sinigang na Lechon a la Marketman, and let me say, this was one whoppingly good soup! I have been meaning to cook this ever since “Choy,” a commenter mentioned it many months back and practically goaded me into cooking it despite my high 200’s cholesterol count… :) I have also tried to come up with something that would be delicious, quick, easy, festive and yet local for large holiday family gatherings. I think this is it.
It took less than an hour to make. A huge pot that cost roughly PHP700 would easily feed 12-14. Each serving with rice would cost only PHP50-60, or less than 2/3 of a BIG MAC! It was luscious, delicious and partially nutritious. You must try this at least once this holiday season. Locals and balikbayans alike will rave for days. And I did it with ingredients available at most large groceries. So you have no excuse why you can’t do this at home. Unless you don’t like sinigang. Or lechon. And if you don’t, WHAT ARE YOU DOING READING THIS??? :) I was at S&R the other day, finalizing plans with their store managers for the t-shirt pick-up arrangements, and I realized I had to cook lunch for a crowd in an hour, so I bought all of these ingredients at S&R.
1 pack of Lechon hooves, and other unwanted but utterly delicious parts
1 pack of 500gms. lechon meat
2 packs of sinigang mix (I know, horrors, but they had no fresh sampaloc)
Long Beans (Sitaw)
Water Spinach (Kangkong)
In a large pot, fill about 1/3 full of water, throw in the lechon parts (not the meaty ones yet), chop up some tomatoes and onions and turn on the heat to medium high. Bring this to a boil and keep it boiling for about 20-25 minutes to flavor the broth, it will turn cloudy. Add whole peppercorns if you desire. When that looks done and tastes pretty good, add the other lechon meat, salt and boil another 10 minutes or so (gentle boil). Add the sinigang mix and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Then add the sliced vegtables, kangkong last, and serve. Gosh this was good. And surprisingly, not that oily. I thought it would be swimming in fat but it wasn’t. And the sourness of the tamarind with the richness of the lechon and the flavor and texture of veggies was everything you could want on a cold rainy day. The broth was surprisingly flavorful, something about pig bones really does miracles. This is everything good for a gathering of good friends, balikbayans, barkada, etc. this Christmas season. Fabulous. This has zoomed up my lengthy list of sinigang variations thus far…