Lechon paksiw is a succulent pork dish that is sweet with a hint of spicy sourness. An ode to Philippine values of sharing and practicality, you’d be sure to enjoy this after a big event where lechon was served.
Where there is lechon, there will be lechon paksiw a few days later. I wrote about the significance of lechon or spit-roast hog in the Filipino culture on my Lechon Kawali post, and there you would see that most special events in a Filipino’s life is marked by a celebration with an iconic roast pig. Even Anthony Bourdain shared our love for the delicious dish. What can I say? We love our meat. Filipinos are very carnivorous.
Lechon Paksiw: A Dish of Sharing and Practicality
Another thing to say, however, is that Filipinos are incredibly generous and practical. In a country whose majority is stricken by poverty, wasting food is almost a crime, and the best way to deal with a rare occasion of food excess is to share it. After an event, guests are usually expected to take home leftovers from the buffet, and trust that there will always be leftover lechon. I remember that particularly in our family, the lechon leftovers including the bones and fat are hacked up and distributed to close family members, especially the ones who have bigger families to feed or are less fortunate. For non-Filipinos, this may seem odd, but we are serious about hating food wastage. (My grandmother used to tell me to never waste even a grain of rice, as there was tremendous work placed into each one.)
From the Ashes of Leftovers
This is where lechon paksiw comes from. Lechon paksiw is a popular home-cooked dish that makes use of lechon leftovers. The meat sticking to the bone is best for lechon paksiw, as the bone brings a delicious meat flavour to the stew. It translates to roast pork (lechon) sour stew (paksiw), and from that alone, the way to make this dish is pretty self-explanatory. The leftovers are simmered in a combination of broth, vinegar, and sweet lechon sauce. The outcome is a saucy and flavorful stew with the most tender meat.
It’s All About the Sauce
Lechon paksiw is the Filipino equivalent of roast beef sandwiches or bread pudding after Christmas. It revives the unwanted bits of a once glorious feast and turns it into something separately special altogether. This pork stew is sometimes even looked forward to more than the actual lechon, as it is a more hearty and warm dish that is enjoyed with… you guessed it, piping hot steamed rice. We love rice.
While it is easy to make, it is dependent on the flavour of the lechon sauce that you use, which is a challenge for people outside of the Philippines. Lechon sauce, is an actual condiment in the Philippines. Commercially, it is known as “Mang Tomas”, a popular brand of lechon sauce/gravy. See, we love lechon so much we have a special sauce for it on the supermarket aisle. It should be available in Pinoy or asian supermarkets, but it is actually easy enough to make if you can’t find it anywhere. The key is liver pate, bay leaves, and brown sugar.
Making Lechon Paksiw for Two
On my post about visiting Gower, Wales, I mentioned that we went there for a reunion with Andrew’s climbing buddies. As luck would have it, they used to always roast a whole pork for their major annual climb and thought it best to have one for the reunion. We had a lot of fun, and a lot of lechon to take home. At this point, my husband has had enough of roast pork and was doubtful that I would change his mind with this dish. I excitedly tried to create lechon paksiw at home and it was a success. It was a different dish and a new flavour, one that takes it away from just being roast pork. Filipino practicality and creativity wins again.
I’d have to say, however, to best make this dish in small batches and freeze the rest of the leftover lechon if you are only cooking for two. Delicious as it is, lechon paksiw is usually meant to feed bigger families by taking something that would have otherwise been thrown out and turning it into a bulky and flavoursome dish that can be served over rice.
Try the lechon paksiw recipe below and let me know what you think!
- 1 kilo roast pork left overs
- 3garlic cloves minced
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 cup pork stock
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- whole peppercorns
- 2 cups lechon sauce
- chopped onion
- 120g pork liver pate
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp bread crumbs
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the lechon sauce. Caramelize onionthen add all other ingredients and simmer until thick. Blitz in blender to turn into sauce. Set aside.
- Sautee garlic and onions until soft. Add pork stock and simmer until onions are soft.
- Add peppercorns, soy sauce, bay leaves and lechon pork. Stew for 20-30 mins or until pork is very tender.
- Add vinegar, lechon sauce, and sugar, making sure to taste along the way to adjust your preference of sweetness.
- Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for another 10 mins.
- Serve over hot steamed rice.
- Best lechon leftovers to use are skin and meat on bone, but white meat works wonderfully as well. Expect the strands to fall apart as the pork becomes very tender.
- You can adjust the sweetness of this dish by holding back on the sugar a little bit, but this dish is meant to be sweet and sour so bear that in mind. If you are not a fan of sweet and sour dishes, try my lechon kawali dish instead, available on www.UpraisedLiving.com