With the ongoing inflation, we are all tightening our belts and trying our best to save here and there. Needless to say, food expenses eat up a big chunk of our monthly budget. And with the holiday season knocking at our doors, I am looking for ways to prepare without blowing up a month’s food budget to have a festive Noche Buena (Christmas Eve dinner).
People who know me know that I take pride in scouring the “Flipp” app (like clockwork every single week) to check for each store’s sale items. This doesn’t only save us money but it also lessens my trips to the supermarket. Though walking through the grocery aisles is a stress reliever for me, store hopping eats up too much time and the price of gas is not a friendly sight. I’ve scored a few slabs of pork belly that were deeply discounted a few weeks ago. Each slab weighs about 3 to 3 ½ pounds and costs less than $15. So, if I factor the price of the other ingredients I used, this mouthwatering, center-stage worthy special occasion meal only costs $20! That’s a sure win in my book!
Lechon (Roasted Pig) is a default “feast and festive” food for a lot of Filipinos . Thanks to the more affordable Lechon Belly, more people can indulge in the “holiday” food without the stinging price tag of a whole pig roast. For those of us who associate carving a Christmas Ham with Noche Buena , this recipe is a great option.
The prep work is minimal and the cooking part is even easier if using the Instant Pot. I basically just marinated a small slab of pork belly (skin on) in some sweetened pineapple juice and soy sauce then tied it into a roll (like a Lechon Belly) before cooking under pressure to tenderize. Once fork tender, the only thing left to do is to reduce the braising liquid until it turns into a glaze. Slice it thinly as you serve then smother generously with the thick sauce. This dish can be served with rice, a hearty sandwich filling or just by itself with some fresh fruits and veggies alongside. Doesn’t it scream Noche Buena?
Have a very Merry Christmas!
Festive Pork Hamonado (Instant Pot)
- Kitchen twine (five 25 inches long)
- Instant Pot (I used 6qt IP)
- IP cooking rack
- Food container with lid (for marinating)
- 3 – 3 ½ lbs pork belly slab skin-on
- 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice * see Notes
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Leftover marinade
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a lidded container big enough to fit the slab of pork. Once sugar is dissolved, place the pork belly (skin side up). Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove the marinated pork from the marinade (reserve marinade) and tie as you would a Lechon Belly. ** (see Notes)
- Pour the leftover marinade in the inner pot of the IP and add 1 cup of pineapple juice. Place a cooking rack on top then position the rolled pork belly on top. Cover and cook on Meat setting for 55 minutes then naturally release pressure after 20 minutes.
- Very carefully remove the meat and transfer to a shallow pan. Strain the remaining liquid over the meat. Bring to a boil on medium heat to reduce the sauce until a thick gravy forms. Baste constantly for a shinier top.
- Turn the heat off then transfer to a serving platter once slightly cooled. Slice thinly (remove twine) and serve with the sauce alongside.
- Alternatively, this can be done on the stove. After marinating, transfer BOTH the meat and the remaining marinade in a large pot and add 2 CUPS of PINEAPPLE JUICE and 1 CUP of WATER. Add more juice until the liquid reaches almost the same level as the top of the meat. Cover and bring to a boil over MEDIUM heat, making sure to skim off the scum that floats as it boils. Switch to LOW and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours (or until meat is fork tender). Then, follow Steps 4 and 5.