Boiled food? You might say, “Yuk!” but you haven’t tasted a good boiled dinner if have never tasted a well made Pochero with all the trimmings. When I was still “young and innocent”, my mother would occasionally make Pochero. What I love about Pochero was the eggplant sauce that came with it. In fact I made the eggplant sauce the main dish and just got bits and pieces of the other ingredients to spice up my meal. I remember my Mestiza (Spanish/Filipino) friends talk about Pochero as their Sunday meal with family.
It’s easy to make but it takes TIME! I mean, what could be easier than just boiling away your meal! Well, it take time and timing. If you will serve it for lunch, you better do it the day before; and if it’s for dinner, then you better start it early morning on the day that you will have it for dinner.
Pochero The Old-fashioned Way
The traditional way this Spanish-Filipino boiled beef and vegetable dish is served is with eggplant sauce and tomato sauce on the side. This recipe is good for 6 persons with a healthy appetite.
- ½ kilo beef shank meat - slice beef 1 ½ -inch chunky pieces
- ½ kilo pork shoulder - cut into 1 ½ -inch cubes
- ½ chicken - cut into serving parts
- 2 pieces Chorizo Bilabao - cut into 2-inch pieces
- 6-inch piece of Morcilla or blood sausage - cut into 1-inch circles
- 2 pieces of cooking banana (saging na saba) - boil till tender, peel, and slice into 3 pieces each
- a fist size sweet potato - peeled and sliced into 6 pieces
- 2 pieces potatoes - peeled and sliced into 4 pieces each
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced into 1-inch rounds
- 2 whole onions - peeled and quartered
- 1 stalk of celery cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 small cabbage sliced into 8
- 250 grams string beans - remove ends and strings
- 1 small can of chick peas - peeled
- 15 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon salt plus to taste at the end
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- EGGPLANT SAUCE:
- ½ kilo eggplants
- 1 - 2 cloves of garlic - crushed well
- ¼ cup vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- dash of freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- TOMATO SAUCE:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 ½ cups tomato - get the canned, diced tomato
- dash paprika
- dash freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
In a large stock pot that can fit at least 20 cups of water, fill with 15 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Put in the beef shank and continue to boil; scum will start to float on the surface and you must strain this out; continue to remove the scum until the surface is clean.
Turn down the heat to a simmer, and add the onions, celery, and one sliced carrot, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns, 1 tablespoon salt, and cook beef till tender; around 1 ½ to 2 hours.
When the beef is tender, remove from the stock and now add the pork pieces. Simmer till tender. Then remove from the broth.
Now add the chicken pieces and simmer till tender; then remove.
At this point the onion, celery and carrots will be almost like mush; remove them.
Place all the meat in another pot so that when ready to serve, you can put in some broth, then reheat, remove from pot, and place on a serving platter.
As the pot continues to simmer, place the potatoes, and cook, then remove.
Do this with the sweet potatoes, the other carrot, cabbage, saba, and string beans.
With the chick peas, place them in a strainer and just heat them through and remove.
Once the last of the ingredients is cooked, adjust the taste of the soup, adding salt and pepper to your taste. It is also at this point where you can add a small amount of fideos or angel hair pasta (broken into 1-inch pieces) and boil till cooked.
Arrange all these in a large platter, in similar grouping.
The eggplant sauce and tomato sauce must be ready when you arrange this.
The soup is placed in a tureen and served with it.
Boil the eggplants until tender; peel the skin off.
Coarsely chop the eggplants and place in the bowl.
In a separate cup, mix together the vinegar, garlic, olive oil, sugar, pepper, and salt.
Mix well and adjust taste to your liking.
In a small saucepan, place olive oil and heat over a slow fire.
Saute the garlic and onion till the garlic is translucent and the garlic is a light golden tan.
Add the tomato and the seasonings (paprika, pepper, sugar and salt).
Continue to simmer till the raw taste of the tomato disappears.
Adjust the taste to your liking by adding either salt, sugar, and pepper.
Now it’s ready to serve.
How to serve and eat the Pochero:
- Get either one huge platter or two: one with everything or one for the meats and the other for the vegetables.
- Arrange them in their own grouping; chicken with chicken; beef with beef and so on.
- Now have the eggplant sauce and tomato sauce in separate bowls.
- Place the soup in a terrine. Some serve the soup with cooked small sized noodles like fideos or broken angel hair pasta in the soup.
- Now how to eat it; get all your favorite parts and cut them into small, bite size pieces. Then mix them all together on your plate.
- Spoon some of the tomato sauce and eggplant sauce on it; drizzle some olive oil and vinegar (optional); mix it again; now you are ready to down it by the spoonful!
Originally published on July 2, 2019.
Cover photo updated and more photos added on March 6, 2020.