Filipino BBQ Chicken with Java Rice

DSCF7219 (640x480)The Philippines was absolutely influenced by the Spaniards. I don’t understand why a certain blog referred to the Filipino Food as a cousin of the Thai?  I totally believe that my great grandparents spoke Spanish even though they lived and grew up in far-flung provincial towns in the Philippines.

I am currently spending my most awaited time-off in Madrid. I waited for ten months for a most awaited week’s refuge and isolation. I’m slowly getting my groove back. I badly needed one! It’s my second day and enjoying my hotel and hotel room amenities located at the Old Madrid side of the city. It’s extremely hot and humid outside and a ‘siesta’ everyday is necessary to keep pace with the Spaniard’s way of drinking and eating; although I only last until about 11 p.m. I’ve picked up some Spanish words and expressions along the way which are vey related to Tagalog: Bale-bale!! (Di Bale na lang, OK lang),  Taquila (Takilya), Todos Dineros ($$$$$) and more.

Anyway, I’m enjoying the ‘Tapas’ culture despite the very ‘touristy’ climate in and around the area. I don’t mind though. I could always lock myself up in my hotel room and sleep! That I miserably miss too.  I haven’t really encountered any chicken dishes on my second day, but have been overwhelmed by servings of crusty bread, local cheese and Iberico ham on every ‘Tapas’ Bar I enter. Catalunya didn’t serve me them when I went there last year (just for comparison). These staples are all over much like the Filipinos’ strict affair with steamed rice and adobo.

This particular BBQ Chicken was inspired by the Old Manila culture which in part is very, very Spanish. I’m sure anyone who were born in the ’60s and ’70s would understand what I’m referring to. The Old Manila I knew was clean, quaint, sophisticated and just like Madrid, had plazas all over which weren’t as crowded as now.  It was fun milling around these plazas and drinking ‘Cerveza’ from ‘cafeterias’ from across the four corners of the street.

This BBQ Chicken was popularized by Aristocrat where my parents took me when I was still a toddler.  I didn’t follow any strict recipe for this one, and it didn’t exactly tasted like Aristocrat’s. I didn’t have the resources to execute that splendid dish, and as always time was against me to gather up all ingredients. Anyway, here’s my take on that ‘Old Manila’ BBQ Chicken. I also tried the very popular ‘Java’ rice using a ‘Paella’ Spice I bought in Barcelona. Enjoyed both.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Quarter Leg
  • Pop (used a can of Pepsi)
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Con Azafran
  • Brown Sugar
  • Lemon Juice (or Lime)
  • Patis
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Thai Chilis
  • Coriander (garnish)
  • Thai Basil (garnish)
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt

Combine everything in a mixing a bowl. Taste the marinade accordingly and pour in another container together with the chicken legs.

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Discard the marinade and pat-dry the legs with a paper towel. Insert in a 385’C pre-heated oven until cooked through; about 45 minutes to an hour.

Garnish with finely chopped Coriander and Thai Basil. These herbs made a whole lot of difference on each bite! I wanted more thereafter.

Java Rice:

Heat a wok with vegetable oil. Saute the garlic followed by the day-old rice.  Add salt and pepper and generously sprinkle with ‘Paella’ Con Azafran until each kernel has been fully coated by the yellow substance.

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Pan-Seared Veal Chops in Red Wine & Portobello Mushroom Sauce

DSCF7214 (640x494)There’s no summer in North America.  Technically, summer started late last month.  However, with torrential rain that befell the country two weeks ago, coupled with frightening lightning and thunderstorm, this strange and severe weather condition created a chain reaction that brought two cities down to its knees; Toronto being one of them. This was the basic reason I was away from blogging. The daily commute to and from work became more difficult as it already was, and I was exhausted to the point of collapsing from work responsibilities. I took refuge to eating out in restaurants for that much awaited peace and quiet after a hard day’s work. It seemed so unlikely to happen in this side of the world, but they do so once so often. Do you remember New York’s Sandy?

Anyway, I was invited to a Filipino BBQ ‘event’ in the suburbs one weekend when these weird weather occurrences were pounding the city and it was a boisterously loud one. Filipino gatherings tend to be a beehive of endless conversations, and these expressions of extreme happiness or overjoy and emotion can be annoying during parties. It was a new house by the way, and buying a house on a mortgage here is a critical step to any immigrant or Canadian (Right Iska?). It’s the epitome of all the hardwork  achieved through all those years of working two jobs and supporting a family as well as the sacrifice of being far away from the motherland.  Going back to the BBQ feast, I had the infamous ‘Isaw’ after so many years. That was classic. My buddy had set aside several (arrived late) and my trip was totally worth it after gorging into those savoury and slimy intestines. I know I can’t prepare nor cook them myself. They tasted like ‘Tapas’ and I missed them as much as I miss Europe.

Grilling is back and although this summer will surely be short-lived this year, I had a chance to plan my meals based on this topic for this month.  The BBQ ribs was actually one of them. This one is more French; going through sauce reductions and stock preparation so typical of French Cuisine. I just had to. These were precious Veal Chops I found in the supermarket and they don’t just come out of the shelves as regularly as steaks or pork chops. Grabbed a couple packs and started thinking like a French thereafter.

Ingredients:

  • Veal Chops (Thick Cut)
  • Duck Bones (for the stock)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt & Ground Black Pepper
  • Fresh Thyme (finely chopped)
  • Garlic (minced to a paste)
  • Shallots or Red Onion (finely chopped)
  • Red wine (reduced to half)
  • Red wine (for deglazing)
  • Duck Stock (reduced to a cup) or Duck Fat
  • Dijon Mustard or Regular Mustard
  • Portobello Mushrooms (cleaned and diced)

Marinate the Veal Chops with salt & pepper, olive oil , and Thyme overnight.

Pre-heat and season the grill or the grill pan and sear or mark the chops on both sides.  Transfer in a roasting pan and finished them off to medium or medium rare in a pre-heated 350’C oven.  Set aside to rest, tented.

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Saute the shallots or onions and mushrooms on the same pan, and immediately deglaze with red wine. Add in the minced garlic, reduced red wine and duck stock and finish off with the mustard. Add in more freshly chopped Thyme before finishing off the sauce. Adjust consistency with more stock or wine and/or finish off with cream (optional).

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Duck Stock:

Chop the Duck bones and set on the roasting pan with a mirepoix of vegetables. Roast until they turn golden. Put everything in a stock pot with more aromatics and let it boil to simmer for about an hour. Strain in a smaller pot and reduce to a cup.

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