I miss Philippine Christmases. It is one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world. Celebrations usually start way before December, even preceding Halloween.
The main event is the food fest. Food is given as gifts and also served in every household for all guests who happen to drop by on Christmas day. Everyone has a buffet laden with all the family specialties and delicacies.
|Happy Christmas, Nanay!|
Estofado simply means stew. A lot of versions are known, not only in the Philippines, but all over the world. My Mom Fely's version is made with beef, olives and mushrooms. Sometimes she cooks ox tongue in the same way and it is then is called Lengua Estofada. It is a good dish to prepare for parties because it can be cooked ahead of time and reheated on the day. In fact the flavour improves after a few days.
1 kg. of whole beef rump
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 onions, chopped
2 tbsps. lemon juice
2 tbsps. worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. light soy sauce
1 c. beef stock or water
flour for dusting
2 tbsps. of butter
2 tbsps. tomato paste
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 c. brandy or vino blanco
300 gms. of fresh mushrooms (1 tin of mushrooms in brine)
15 pieces of pitted olives
2 tbsps. olive brine
2 tbsps. brown sugar
1/4 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 c. grated processed cheese
Cut the beef in long strips (about 3"x3" across). Tie with a string so that it will be in neat log shapes when cooked and easier to slice. Mix half of the garlic, half of the onions, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce and light soy sauce in a dish. Put the beef pieces in and leave to marinate for 2 hours.
After two hours, transfer the beef and the marinade into a covered pan or pot. Add a cup of stock or water and simmer for 40 minutes, turning occasionally. Turn the heat off.
Take the beef off the sauce and dredge lightly in flour. Reserve the sauce. Fry the beef in butter until evenly browned. Lift the beef pieces onto a chopping board and leave to rest for a few minutes.
In the same frying pan, saute the rest of the garlic until golden in color. Add the remaining onions and cook until softened.
Add the 2 tbsps. of tomato paste. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add this mixture to the reserved cooking liquid in the pan or pot, along with the rest of the ingredients (except for the cheese). Bring to a boil and leave to simmer.
Slice the beef crosswise anto 1/2" thick pieces.
Add to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or so until the beef is fork tender.
Add the cheese. The dish is done when the cheese has melted.