Jul 5, 2007
The theme of Lasang Pinoy's 19th edition -- Barrio Fiesta: Eat 'Til You Drop is the essence of the fiesta as I knew it, growing up. The feasting didn't just happen for a day -- the fiesta, the food and the merrymaking lasted for days, at least in our home.
The fiesta in our parish, The Holy Family, happens every last Sunday of the year. Before that, the following things happen: three birthdays -- my brother's, Dad's and mine (8,18 and 24) and Christmas Day. The parish fiesta usually falls somewhere from the 26th to the 29th. After that, the food-laden table on New Year's Eve and more eating on New Year's Day. (And a few days after that, my mom's birthday on the 4th.) Did you count? Eight days of eating.
And so you'd probably understand when I say it's pretty hard to remember whether there was exactly a dish we prepared especially for the fiesta. :)
Anyway, since the fiesta was practically sandwiched in between special holidays punctuated by non-stop cooking and eating, it has become a peculiar custom among us neighbors to make the fiesta a leftover potluck day. Long tables are laid out on the street and each household brings out something to share, usually leftover from Christmas day. The table gets lined with various versions of macaroni salad and/or spaghetti bolognese, laneras of leche flan and loads of ham. From time to time some lechon/lechon paksiw, morcon or festive-looking bread breaks the predictability and disappear fast from the long table.
My Callos was one such hit. :)
Thanks to the wonders of pressure-cooking, making Callos is no longer as tedious and time-consuming as it used to be. And because ox tripe and ox legs (cow's pata) are readily available from the meat section of major supermarkets, you need not wait for a fiesta to taste or serve it. :)
What's In It?
1 1/2 kilos beef tripe (tuwalya)
1 1/2 kilos ox leg (have the butcher chop it into 4 large chunks)
2 T garlic, minced
2 pcs. medium-sized onion, sliced
3 pcs. red bell pepper, sliced and seeded
1 kilo fresh tomatoes, blanched, peeled and sliced
1 cup grated quick-melt cheese
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 cup chick peas (garbanzos)
1 large potato, peeled and sliced into thick strips
3 pcs. Chorizo de Bilbao, sliced diagonally
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thick strips
4-6 bay leaves
5 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pitted green olives (optional)
Wash ox leg and tripe. Boil in enough water for 30 minutes, then discard the stock*. Replace water (enough to cover the meats) and cook in a pressure cooker. The meats should be under pressure** for no more than 20 minutes. Remove from fire and let cool for 10 minutes. Check pressure by raising one of the vents. If no steam comes out it is safe to open the pressure cooker.
Remove meats from the pot. Chop tripe into rectangular strips. Remove the softened ligaments from the bones and chop into the same shape and size as the tripe. Reserve stock for later.
In a deep saucepot, saute garlic, onions and tomatoes in oil. Add bell peppers and tomatoes and saute for one more minute or until tomatoes have wilted. Add in tripe and ox ligaments. Season with fish sauce and ground pepper. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Add stock, chili sauce, potatoes, carrots and bay leaves. Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are fork-tender. Stir in grated cheese, let simmer for two minutes more. Remove from fire and garnish with olives if desired.
*This is so that the stock does not get masebo and yucky smelling.
**The pressure is on if the pressure cooker begins hissing. With some pressure cookers the vents actually lift a little and dance on their bolts like polka dancers. :)