Despite nearly 20 wide-eyed, watery-mouthed, hungry Filipino porkaphiles hacking away at a whole-roasted pig this past Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s, there was still plenty of pork to go around after everyone’s forks and spoons were laid down.
Nope, my family could not put away 200+lbs of porcine goodness in one sitting, which was fine by me because the only thing better than lechon is leftover lechon. What to do with leftover lechon?
Well, on many an occassion I’ve been known to drizzle some good olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper on some leftover lechon meat and then throwing the whole lot on a hot grill–juuuust for a minute or two until the meat is branded with grill marks and the skin re-crisps. Mmmm, almost as good as new.
And then there’s always Paksiw na Lechon: a tasty stew of roast pig leftovers simmered in vinegar, sugar, spices, and lechon liver sauce.
But for this go-around, I decided to utilize my latest bounty of lechon in a pot of Sinigang. Sinigang is a sour soup that often contains fish, shrimp, or pork. Sinigang is also perhaps the most beloved and comforting of Filipino comfort foods. So I figured what could be more comforting than a Sinigang chock full of lechon?
Try as we might, my family could not finish off this beast.
A good pot of Sinigang is usually soured by calamansi, lemon, kamias, guava, or tamarind. For my Sinigang na Lechon, I decided to use a combination of lemon juice and tamarind concentrate that I found at the Asian grocery store. After deciding on the souring agent for a Sinigang, I’ve found that you can pretty much throw in whatever vegetables you fancy.
The vegetables that are usually found swimming in Sinigang can range from onions, tomatoes, sitao (long beans), taro, kangkong (water spinach), bok choy, and even radishes. I like to keep things simple with my Sinigangs, so I usually only roll with onions, tomatoes, and baby bok choy.
Just keep in mind that Sinigang is a highly customizable soup and can include any combination of vegetables and protein. But if you happen to have half a roasted pig carcass lying around, a pot of sour Sinigang is a good place for some of that piggy surplus.
Sinigang na Lechon
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and julienned
1 whole chile pepper (i.e. serrano, jalapeno, anaheim)
Juice of two lemons, plus more to taste
4 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (found at Asian markets)
3 tablespoons fish sauce, plus more to taste
1 pound lechon meat, with skin separated
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 baby bok choy, chopped
Place the onions, tomatoes, ginger, chile pepper, lemon juice, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, and lechon skin in a large soup pot. Add enough water to the pot to cover the contents by one inch. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for one hour.
After one hour of simmering, taste the broth for seasoning. Add the salt, black pepper, and more lemon juice and fish sauce as desired. Add the lechon meat to the pot, along with the baby bok choy, and simmer for 5-10 minutes more until bok choy wilts and softens.
Serve soup in bowls with a scoop of steamed white rice.