Side Story: Lechon Cebu, Lutong Sapul Style!

Just this morning, “Sapul sa Singko”, our morning show at TV5, featured lechon Cebu in its “Lutong Sapul” (a cooking portion) segment. It was such a waste that I wasn’t able to watch the whole segment, but I found out that it’s possible to enjoy the taste of lechon Cebu right at your home!

Lourd De Veyra (of “Word of the Lourd” and “This Is A Crazy Planets” fame) and Chef Raymar of Modern Culinaire shared to us a simple lechon recipe that anyone can follow at home. In this case, they performed the recipe, not on a whole pig, but just on a smaller chunk.

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Ingredients

Meat
Liempo (pork belly, probably a kilo will do)
Pepper
Onion leaves
Soy sauce
Salt
Garlic

Stuffing
Tanglad (lemongrass)
Saging na saba (Saba banana)
Gabi (taro)


Procedures
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Rub salt and pepper on the liempo. (Three words: season to taste.)
3. Brush soy sauce on the liempo skin. (Brushing soy sauce on skin gives the skin its reddish look.)
4. Lay the liempo over a bed of tanglad, gabi and saging na saba arranged in a baking pan. (The better thing to do is stuff the herbs in the meat for it to better absorb the flavors.)
5. Place the liempo in the pre-heated oven. Dance the macarena (kidding).
6. Wait for the skin to become crispy. (How long is this – 30 minutes? Probably as soon as steam comes out and the skin gets toasted? Your call, actually.)
7. Serve with a vinegar or lechon sauce dip. (Chef Raymar recommends vinegar with peppercorns and onions as the best dip for lechon Cebu.)
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This recipe looks easy to follow, and maybe one can make a few changes on the recipe along the way. Come to think of it, I guess this is how lechoneros start and develop their business: work on the default recipe, and improve on it. In any case, enjoying lechon Cebu at home is easier now. (Having an oven for this is another story though.)

Anyway, right after “Sapul sa Singko,” the crispy, tasty, juicy lechon was distributed to everyone in the studio. Not everyone was able to have a piece of it though, since the pig disappeared like it was devoured by typhoon Ondoy. As for me, I got a big, fatty chunk of the stuff. To hell with what people will say about my lechon consumption habits. Nothing beats a dose of heaven early in the morning.

On the other hand, normally I’d ask for a larger portion for sharing. Not this time, though. I can’t demand for one anyway. No lechon for you, sorry.

EDIT: I talked to Chef Raymar this morning, and he said you can throw the pork into a pot of hot cooking oil in case you don’t have an oven.

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