Christmas is just around the corner, and though it may seem a bit different this year with the pandemic, we can still make the most out of the season with quarantine-safe traditions. One such tradition is putting together a delightful spread of dishes for Noche Buena. And what’s a Filipino feast without pork? Read on for ideas for a pork holiday menu, as well as some tips for pork meat safety.
Can Humans Get the African Swine Fever?
News of African Swine Fever outbreaks has been frequent, and in different parts of the country since the first outbreak in August 2019. But despite the impact of the disease on our local pig industry, the World Organization for Animal Health, and local authorities the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health maintain that African Swine Fever does not pose a health risk to humans.
It’s safe to eat pork. But to be extra safe, here are a few pork meat safety measures you can take:
- Buy meat from reliable merchants. These merchants or vendors should have an NMIS certification from the National Meat Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture, and the meat that they sell should bear the NMIS stamp.
- Cook meat thoroughly. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that African Swine Fever can remain viable in frozen and certain types of processed meat for many months. Cooking meat thoroughly at 60°C for 30 minutes should be enough to kill the virus.
Pork on the Holiday Menu
In every Filipino celebration, the spread will always have to be a balance of different meats, greens and sides. For your pork holiday menu? Don’t hold back. These well-loved Christmas pork dishes of Pork Humba, Embutido and Pinoy Pork Barbeque are sure to add more punch to your noche buena spread.
- ½ kg pork belly, cut into 1×2-inch sizes
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- ¼ cup fermented black beans (tausi)
- 2 ½ tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 pc. laurel leaf
- ½ tsp. peppercorn
- 3 pcs. star anise
- ½ cup dried banana blossoms
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup cane vinegar
- 3 pouches (115g each) pineapple bits
- 1 pouch (115 grams) tomato sauce
- Cook sugar and pork until sugar has caramelized.
- Throw in tausi and garlic, and cook for a few more minutes until meat is slightly brown.
- Pour in vinegar, soy sauce, laurel, peppercorn, star anise, and tomato sauce. Let it simmer.
- Add water and pineapple syrup. Cover and let it simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
- Add dried banana blossoms and simmer for another 5 minutes, before adding the pineapple bits. Simmer for 2 minutes before serving hot with steamed rice.
- ½ kilo lean ground pork
- ½ cup carrots, finely chopped
- 1 cup (or 6 slices) sweet or cooked ham, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. green bell pepper, minced
- 3 tbsp. red bell pepper, minced
- ⅓ cup sweet pickle relish
- ¼ cup raisins
- 3 whole eggs
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- A dash of liquid seasoning
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- slices (wedges) of hard-boiled eggs
- slices (wedges) of Vienna sausage
- aluminum foil, cut into 10″ x 12″ sheets
- Ready a steamer or prep a baking pan, as well as a wire rack. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix.
- Once mixture is well blended, divide it into 2 – 4 portions (depending on how many you want to make).
- Spread and flatten the mixture portion onto the center of a foil sheet. And at the center of each mixture, place the slices of eggs and vienna sausages. By holding each end of the foil, roll the mixture back and forth until it covers the slices of eggs and sausages in the center.
- Roll the aluminum foil into a tightly packed log, sealing on both ends. Repeat with the remaining pork mixture.
- Lay the embutido in a steamer and steam for an hour. Alternatively, you can place embutido on a wire rack in a baking pan, half filled with hot water. Make sure to cover with aluminum foil. Steam-bake in the center of the oven for an hour.
- Remove from the oven. Let it cool and slice into rings. Serve with your favorite ketchup or sauces.
- Keep the unserved embutido in the refrigerator.
Filipino Pork Barbeque
- 1 kg. pork
- 20 bamboo skewers
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 head of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup of calamansi juice or lemon juice
- ½ cup of soda or beer (optional)
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp. of brown or white sugar
- ½ cup of ketchup
- Cut pork meat into thin, long slices and marinate in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, onions, calamansi juice, ground pepper, sugar, ketchup and the soda or beer. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Prepare the bamboo skewers, making sure to get rid of splinters, before using for threading pieces of the together.
- Cook barbeque on a grill, turning every few minutes on each side and basting leftover marinate on the barbeque.
- Serve while hot.
Read more features on pork meat safety, along with livestock farming tips from UNAHCO.