Every culture has its version of boiled meat and vegetables. So I said in my Dublin coddle post. In the Philippines, the generic nilaga (literally, boiled) can refer to boiled beef and vegetables, boiled chicken and vegetables or boiled pork and vegetables. What the vegetables are vary. But, almost always, there is a combination of leafy and non-leafy vegetables.
But a foreword, however. Don’t ever think that you’ll be able to come up with a good broth if you boil meat with no bones. Truth be told, it is the bones that flavor the broth and give it a richness that no amount of meat-only boiling will yield. When I cook nilagang baboy, I often choose the ribs. Not spare ribs but the chunkier cut with the larger bones. If you’re on good terms with your butcher, the ribs can be very, very meaty.
You can use whatever combination of vegetables you like. This recipe uses white cabbage, potatoes and carrots.
- 1 kg. of pork ribs, cut into serving size pieces
1 whole onion, unpeeled
1 whole garlic
1 tbsp. of peppercorns
For the vegetables:
half of a large head of white cabbage (or a whole small one)
200 g. of potatoes
200 g. of carrots
- Preheat the broiler to 475F.
Arrange the pork ribs on a rack in a single layer. Place a tray beneath the rack to catch the dripping. Broil the pork ribs for 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour about eight cups of water in a pot. Add the whole onion, garlic and peppercorns. Bring to the boil.
After 15 to 20 minutes in the broiler, take out the pork ribs. With the liquid in the pot boiling profusely, drop the pork ribs one at a time. Season with salt. When the liquid is boiling once more, turn down the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer the pork for an hour to an hour and a half. Trust me, no scum will form on the broth.
When the pork is almost done, or about 20 minutes before cooking time is up, peel the carrots and potatoes and cut into wedges. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage. Without cutting off the core, cut the cabbage vertically into quarters.
Drop the vegetables into the pot, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste the broth, add more salt if necessary, simmer for another five minutes or until the vegetables are done.
Ladle the pork and vegetables into soup bowls and serve hot.
Cooking time (duration): about 2 hours
Number of servings (yield): 4 to 5
Meal type: supper
The old nilagang baboy entry is on page two.