Monday, August 22, 2011

Manaloto’s Chorizo Recado

Chorizo is a pork sausage that has been smoked. It’s rich in flavor because of all the spices mixed with the pork meat. It is often served in tapas bars with your favorite alcoholic beverage. It is another popular dish the Filipinos inherited from the Spanish. Another term for it is ‘longganisa’. Technically speaking, a chorizo is cured (a technique in food preservation using salt, sugar, nitrates or by smoking) while a longganisa is fresh. But most of the longganisas in the Philippines are fresh, and mixed with salt, vinegar, garlic, pepper and sugar and sometimes air dried. So the term chorizo or longganisa only applies in name depending on what region it’s made from.

The particular one I am raving about is from Bacolod, and here it is called chorizo. Bacolod is the capital of the province of Negros Occidental. It is known as the sugar bowl of the Philippines where the old rich land owners watch over their haciendas (plantations) and live the quality of life as our forefathers have lived it. Bacolod can be compared to Americas Old South. But as of late, the city has been slowly entering the modern world with its introduction to the commercialism of malls being built in the city.

Manaloto’s chorizo recado is available right in the heart of Bacolod city in a rather small and quaint grocery store called K-mart (not to be confused for the large supermarket chain in America). Unlike other chorizos or longganisas, Manaloto’s chorizo recado is made from lean ground meat mixed with garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper and I believe smoked paprika. I am just guessing on what’s in the chorizo based on my keen sense of taste (yes, I mean keen) because I’m sure the family would not just give out their recipe to anyone, more so the world. Normally, saffron would be the most obvious assumption for the orange tinge the chorizo gives out when it’s fried, but since chorizo or longganisa is supposed to be food for the masses and saffron being the most expensive spice in the world, paprika would be more applicable. Its affordability makes it such a popular viand.

My Negrense friends (people who hail from Bacolod) cook their chorizos by removing the meat from the skin then frying the meat in a bit of oil until it’s cooked. I prefer cooking mine in a bit of water until the chorizos are spurting in their own oil. I then puncture the skin with a fork, releasing the orange juices. At this point I crank up the heat of the stove to cook the outer layer of the chorizo until it’s toasty, leaving the middle part still juicy. I serve it with plain white rice and either a scrambled egg or fried egg. I don’t like having garlic fried rice (how chorizo or longganisa is usually eaten with) paired with Manaloto’s chorizo recado because I want to savor the flavor of it. With its already rich taste, plain white rice is the perfect complement to it.

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