Thursday, August 29, 2013

The only pork I can abide with

It's when I find the cubes of pork in an adobo especially prepared by artist Noel Soler Cuizon. He has grown up with this dish that is part of the kitchen repertoire of the Fajardo family, the same line of gastronomes that produced a Brenda Fajardo.

At a lunch he hosted over a month ago at the gallery of the Philippine Women's University School of Fine Arts and Design, Noel brought out a  long rectagular container. Was it Pyrex or Tupperware? My memory is hazy on this detail, but I clearly recall the glossy brown mass of  pork and some slices of chicken that may have looked un-photogenic but stirred something deep in the souls of those who partook of it.

A Fajardo on his maternal grandmother's side, Noel says the surviving family members have quarterly potlucks made more memorable by food themes. They've gone Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Filipino--all towards a future Fajardo cookbook project. Among the family's traditional dishes include what they call manok na pamasko (served at noche buena or the night before Christmas), basically nilagang manok with bone ham, chorizo and castañas, pochero, callos, kare-kare.

Call this recipe an advanced excerpt from family lore with Noel tweaking it here and there to improve it.

Adobo a la Fajardo


1 kilo chicken
1 kilo pork
chicken liver (optional)
equal amounts of soy sauce and vinegar for the marinade
black peppercorns
laurel leaves
dash of Worcestershire sauce


1. Boil everything  until tender.
2. Remove everything from the sauce, then fry the contents in cooking oil to get them toasty.
3. Separately fry another batch of garlic equivalent to one whole clove.
4. Return everything in the sauce and let it simmer.
5. When the sauce is almost gelatinous, turn off the heat.
6. Pour olive oil atop the stew.
7. Let cool, then store overnight.
8. Reheat when ready to serve the next day.
9. When the leftovers are about two weeks old, toast everything with additional garlic, mix them, then pour olive oil with flair!

This is my addition: Eat with the ravenous appetite of one who was gypped and is now boiling mad over the misuse and abuse of pork barrel funds.
Jay Bautista, blogger and adobo prince Noel Cuizon
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