It was the day of the Christmas party in the mid-1980s. I woke up to the sound of screaming pigs that morning and later learned that two whole pigs were slaughtered for the evening’s feast. The crime happened in the backyard and went on the entire day, a pit of red coals roasting two pigs turning on bamboo spits until they reached a red and golden color.
Later on it was decided that buying a whole roasted pig (lechon, in Tagalog) was far more convenient and economical than hiring a manglilitson (lechon maker). Either way the morning resulted in a surplus of meat and skin to be made into a stew called Lechon Paksiw.
“Paksiw” in itself is a term denoting a stew with vinegar. Used also for fish, it is designed to prolong the shelf life of food because the acid in the dish prevented bacteria from growing. Just like in adobo, which my family packed on many a beach trip because it kept well.
I was able to scam a roasted pig‘s head and some meat pieces from a recent Sopressata Making Class and we decided to make another favorite stew. To me the taste of lechon paksiw reminds only of mornings-after where a stew would be eaten for many days to come, reliving the original roast and the happy occasion. (Incidentally, we’ve made paksiw with leftover crispy pata or lechon kawali pieces.)
Roast pig pieces are placed in a pot along with bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, vinegar and sugar.
This mixture is slow cooked for about three hours until falling-apart tender, adding more liquid if necessary.
Lechon sauce (provided when one orders it from a Filipino source) is added. Otherwise Mang Tomas Sauce is a great alternative.
The stew is cooked until it reaches a thick and rich consistency.
Served with rice and greens.
Rosario’s Lechon Paksiw
3-4 pounds leftover meat pieces and skin from a roasted pig, crispy pata, or lechon kawali
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 head garlic
5 bay leaves
1 bottle Mang Tomas or other lechon sauce
In a pot combine meat and all other ingredients except lechon sauce. Stew covered on low heat for about two hours, stirring occasionally. If sauce dries up, add vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio. When meat is tender and skin is soft and curled, add the lechon sauce diluted with 1 cup of water and simmer for another 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt or sugar.
Serve with rice and vegetables.