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What's for Noche Buena? Panlasang Pinoy picks two classic recipes

Special Chicken Embutido and Special Pork Kaldereta can make the occasion even more special and festive. Photos courtesy of Panlasang Pinoy

MANILA, Philippines — Noche Buena for Filipinos is not just about the delightful dishes served on the table, but also about the actual preparation and celebration. And in the meaningful spirit of Christmas, families are brought together — wherever they may be in the globe.

This is true for Vanjo Merano, the writer behind food blog Panlasang Pinoy. Now based in Chicago, he and his family still celebrate Noche Buena the Filipino way, serving and surrounding themselves with flavors and memories back home. 

“Noche Buena is all about family, loved ones and good food perfect for the special occasion,” he says.

With this in mind, he picks two recipes — both meaty classics— for fellow Pinoys to cook and share together. These are Pork Kaldereta and Chicken Embudito, which for him make the occasion even more special and festive.

The season’s colors in Pork Kaldereta

Festive to both the eyes and palate, Merano began cooking his Special Pork Kalderata when the family was still in the Philippines. Since then, it has been a Noche Buena mainstay in the Merano household.

He makes it special by adding Manzanilla olives and cheese. “The olives provide a bit of sour and salty taste, while the cheese gives it a bit of richness. These ingredients complimentthe dish and makeit taste even better,” he shares.

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He also prefers pork shoulder that contains fat, the secret to moist meat. He further advises to cook the meat until it gets very tender for “a more pleasurable experience.”

How do you achieve this? “This can be done by cooking the meat in low heat for 40 minutes to 1 hour (or so) depending on the quality of the meat,” he answers.

One last ingredient — but definitely not the least — is added: the Knorr Pork Cubes, which according to Merano, bring out the real, meaty flavors of the pork. The result is an even meatier and tastier dish that will surely be a pleasant surprise. 

“Special Pork Kaldereta represents the colors of the season and it is simply delicious,” says Merano.

Chicken Embutido made colorful

Another dish that Merano would love Filipinos to cook for Noche Buena is the Chicken Embutido, our local meatloaf. The reason behind this is that meatloaf is associated with the holidays and it can be made more colorful.

“It might look intimidating to prepare, but I am telling you that it is easy and quick,” he assures.

Begin by preparing the ingredients that include ground chicken, bread crumbs, sweet relish, cheese, raisins, salt and pepper,  and (raw and hard-boiled) eggs. Don’t forget the Knorr Chicken Cubes so that the chicken flavor stands out from the myriad of ingredients. The addition of this secret ingredient is sure to make the embutido more mouth-watering. 

Then mince the following: red bell pepper, green bell pepper and yellow onion to give embutido lots of colors! Merano advises everyone in the family to give a helping hand in the preparation of the ingredients.

The next step is the easiest — mixing everything! He explains, “Combine the ingredients in a bowl (except for boiled eggs) and folded everything until well blended. Once the chicken embutido mixture is ready, I started wrapping it in foil. The boiled eggs that were sliced into wedges (or quartered) were placed in the middle of the mixture. It helps make the dish look pretty later on.”

Once ready, steam the embutido for an hour and serve it warm, fried or chilled, depending on the family’s preference.

'ChristMAS Masarap' with Knorr

Panlasang Pinoy generously shares the recipes of his meaty Noche Buena dishes. Click here for the Special Pork Kaldereta and here for the Special Chicken Embutido. Cook with Knorr Pork and Chicken cubes for a “ChristMAS Masarap” feast for the family!

READ MORE:

WATCH: Karla and Dimples reveal their secret behind their best-tasting Noche Buena dishes

The sights, sounds and flavors of Christmas in the Philippines

 

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