Lechon Kawali

Snack, Crackle, Pop. Repeat. I’ve said this before but Filipino food is on the rise, and much like many top chefs have predicted, Filipino food will begin to surprise you. If you have never had Filipino food, just give it a try. Granted, I have yet to find a sweet Filipino dessert that I like (but then again I do not like many desserts as I am not a sweet tooth), but the savory dishes are to die for. This one might be the one to top it off. There are many common, top, Filipino dishes that you might already be aware of such as Pancit, lumpia, or even Kare Kare, but there is one that is top notch, and that is lechon kawali.

Your cardiologist may not like you after this, nor probably your primary physician, but in moderation, this Filipino crispy pork is so simple to make, and makes a perfect party food. Traditionally made with pork belly, you can also try it with pork ribs just make sure you have plenty of fat to render on the second cooking cycle. Yep, there are two cooking steps going on here.

Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe
Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless pork belly, cut into 2 inch long strips
  • 1 head of garlic, skins removed, bulbs smashed
  • 4 whole bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • water
  • salt
  • canola oil
  • dipping sauce
    • White Vinegar, to your liking
    • Soy sauce, to your liking
    • Chopped garlic, to your liking
    • cracked black pepper, to your liking
    • 1 Thai birds eye chili, smashed, optional or Thai chili flakes

I recently made this for my son’s birthday party, as well as another Filipino gathering and both times they rocked the socks off of the party guests. You know you’ve done right when the Filipinos are giving you a thumbs up, a hug, or a high five after eating your food. This is a winner.

Start by adding the pork belly, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, soy sauce, and enough water to cover the pork belly into a large pot or dutch oven. Cover, and bring to a simmer, cooking for about 1 hour. This is to tenderize the pork, and infuse all of the great flavor from those aromatics.

Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe Ingredients
Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe Ingredients

After 1 hour or so, get a baking sheet out and line it with a wire rack.

Take the strips of pork belly and lay them on the rack, making sure any of the excess liquid goes back into the pot. Once the strips are laid out, lightly salt them with kosher salt. This will assist with the dehydration process and get them ready for the next step the following day, if not hours later in the day.

Place the baking sheet, uncovered in the refrigerator. I do this over night.

Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe
Filipino Lechon Kawali Recipe

When you are ready to go with the next step, take the pork out of the refrigerator and cut them into bite sized cubes, about 1-2 inches in size. Go larger if you prefer.

Heat a pot of oil, about 2-3 cups of canola oil, in a medium sized pot, and bring this to about 350-375 degrees.

In batches, fry the pork. This should take about 5-7 minutes per batch. Once golden and the fat is rendered and crispy, remove with a slotted spoon or kitchen spyder and place onto a paper lined plate to remove any excess oil. Let the oil in the pot come back to temp, then repeat until the lechon kawali is cooked.

NOTE: If you are frying these bad boys, make sure you reserve some for yourself because if you turn your back, trust me, these babies will be gone. This happened to me when I brought them to a party for our friend Miguel to chop up and fry. I didn’t even get a single piece! No worries on that part however, as I know that when I am snacking with the family, that I am sure to get a few pieces.

And that dipping sauce? Go for it. The combination of garlic, vinegar, soy, and chili. That’s a whole other level when it comes to dipping sauce.

If you are looking for a great party appetizer, and don’t mind frying with a bit of oil, this one is sure to please and is a real crowd pleaser not only for those wanting to try some Filipino flavors, but for those who love great, easy food. Hope you enjoy!

Mexican Barbacoa Recipe

The slow cooker rarely gets put away in our house. Based on our busy schedules is pretty much the reason why, and I am typically the one hustling around trying to feed four hungry people every day. Not that I have a problem with that, but the slow cooker always comes to the rescue, and typically anything I throw in there is a real winner. This particular recipe known as Mexican Barbacoa is a real winner, and is something that is only typically served in our our Mexican restaurants on the weekend. This homey doesn’t have time for that, plus I typically stay away from local tacquerias on the weekend.

Mexican Barbacoa Recipe
Mexican Barbacoa Recipe

For one, we are big fans of shredded meat, especially when it comes to tacos, and this one is no exception. You are going to love the texture, flavor, and simplicity of this Mexican barbacoa.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 8 oz can of chipotle chilies in adobo
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced, or chopped (your call)
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp ground Mexican oregano, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • black beans, cooked, optional
  • fresh jalapenos, thinly sliced, optional

Start by adding the 2 tablespoons of oil to a large dutch oven or large skillet. Bring this to a medium heat. The goal is to add the beef in batches to get a nice sear on all sides before placing it into your slow cooker.

Once browned, add each piece to the slow cooker, and repeat with any remaining beef. Once the beef is added, rinse out the skillet or dutch oven, return back to the stove, let the water evaporate, then add in the additional oil bringing it back to a medium heat.

Add in the onion, garlic, and chipotle chilies in adobo sauce. Add in the beef stock, and let this come to a quick boil. Add in the cumin powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and lime juice, and give a good stir Add the mixture to slow cooker, and add to your high setting. Cook this for about 6 hours.

Mexican Barbacoa Ingredients
Mexican Barbacoa Ingredients

After 6 hours, check on the beef and make sure it is fall apart tender. If not, continue to cook until it is and shred all of the beef, making sure everything gets nicely incorporated. Cover and let this cook for about 20 minutes longer to all of that shredded beef and soak up all of that delicious stock.

During this time, cook your beans, and warm up your tortillas. Slice up any additional things such as limes, jalapenos, or onions.

Mexican Barbacoa Recipe
Mexican Barbacoa Recipe

Now it’s ready to serve. I like getting a bit rustic, laying out some barbacoa, beans, chilies, and have things on standby like fresh cilantro, and salsa.

Layer your tacos to your desire and dig in like it’s no one’s business. Forget about waiting for the weekend for this Mexican barbacoa. Go for Tuesday, because who doesn’t love a Tuesday, right?

Pork Ribs Adobo

I have a really great feeling about Filipino food trending this year. As my father-in-law, as well as plenty of extended family are Filipino, I have been blessed to hear stories of their great cuisine, or been around it to try it. I’ve tried enough of the main staples, and have posted them on this site, and hands down (besides lumpia and pancit) on of my favorite dishes is Filipino adobo. Whether that adobo be chicken or pork, it does not really matter. There is something about the aroma, the simplicity, and when eaten with a bit of rice, well, you have yourself a really awesome meal.

My wife will always tell stories about her road trips when growing up as a kid, and her dad busting out a pan of adobo when traveling across country, and that aroma perfuming the car. I’m not too certain if she was a fan of that aroma at that age, but it is one she loves, and my entire family has loved since I’ve been making it. This is pork ribs adobo. It has the bone, plenty of fall apart pork off of that bone, and one that is truly freaking delicious.

Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Recipe
Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 6 lbs of pork ribs, silver skin removed, cut into 2 rib portions
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • garlic fried rice, optional (but you know you want it)

Start by adding all of those pork ribs to a large sealable bag or bowl. Next, take the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, onion, bay leaves, and salt, and mix that into a bowl.

Pour this mixture into the sealable bag, and let this marinate 24 hours, preferably, but you can probably get away with 4 hours. Your call.

Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Ingredients
Filipino Pork Ribs Adobo Ingredients

At some point in time, massage that marinade into the ribs.

When you are ready to cook, add the ribs and marinade into a dutch oven, or something that can hold all of those ribs, and cook on the stove on low heat for about 4 hours.

The ribs should be close to fall apart tender. Once you hit that stage, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Place however many ribs you want onto a baking sheet, and into the heated oven, and cook for about 10 minutes or until you get an nice crisp on the outside.

Take some of the cooked marinade and cook on medium-high heat on the stove. Bring to a boil, then add to a fat strainer if you have one. The ribs do give off a bunch of fat so you will want to remove as much as possible. Keep in mind you can make this a day ahead, store the ribs separately from the cooked marinade, then on the next day, when the fat has solidified from being in the refrigerator, scoop off and discard, keeping just the non-fat marinade.

Once the ribs have gotten nice and crisp on the outside, remove and pour over that cooked marinade.

Plate and serve. You not only get fall apart pork, but the aroma is to die for. It’s that vinegar, mixed with the garlic that just perfumes that pork that it is super hard not to love. So much that I heard my boys moaning a bit, and my wife and daughter who just kept their heads down not saying a word but just scooping forks and spoons of this stuff into their mouths. Yep, it’s that good.

Get your Filipino food on this year. Trust me, it’s hard not to love. Hope you enjoy!

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich

I have been craving French dip sandwiches lately. The French dip could be one of my favorite sandwiches of all times. That time came when I really wanted one and so I decided I would take things in my own hands and make a batch of slow cooked beef and try to accomplish everything I love about this classic sandwich. The great thing about this recipe is that it only takes a few minutes to prepare, and you throw things in your slow cooker, head out to work, and everything is ready when you get home. By the way, it was so flipping delicious that my wife was talking about it the next day!

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich Recipe
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs beef sirloin, cut into thin strips, fat removed
  • 1 lb roast beef from your favorite deli, thinly sliced
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 tbsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • provolone cheese slices
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced,  optional
  • 1 additional onion, thinly sliced, optional
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • bolillo rolls

Start by marinating your beef. To a bowl, add the beef, roast beef, onion soup mix, sliced onion, salt, pepper, and garlic, and garlic powder and mix well with your hands. Cover and marinate overnight.

The following morning, add the meat mixture to your slow cooker. Add in the stock, give a gentle mix, cover, and set on low for 6-8 hours.

Before serving, heat a skillet on medium-low heat and add in the oil if you are using the bell pepper and onion mixture. Add the peppers and onion to the skillet, and cook just until tender. I like a bit of crunch left on my mixture for a bit of texture.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich Ingredients
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich Ingredients

When you are ready to serve, grab a roll, add as much beef mixture as you would like, top with the cooked onions and peppers, and add a couple of slices of provolone. Ladle a bit of the au jus from the slow cooker into a dipping bowl, plate, and dig in.

This was so good, and my wife was right the following morning when she talked about the French dip sandwich with excitement. It was one of those that you could keep going back to, and one that was hard to put down as you you could not wait for the next bite. Fortunately I have leftovers, even though my kids devoured theirs, so I know what we will be eating tomorrow! Now granted you could just eat this with straight up beef and bread and take a dunk in the gravy, but it never hurts to get your veggies on there, along with some nice sharp cheese! Hope you enjoy!