Igado is a Filipino dish with pork tenderloin, green peas, and bell peppers in a tangy and savory sauce for an easy weeknight dinner. This pork and liver stew is hearty, flavorful, and delicious with steamed rice.
Liver is an acquired taste and not something you’d find people fighting over. Which is a shame, really, because it’s nutritious, tasty, and cooks fast and easy.
Organ meats are higher in nutrients than muscle parts of the animal and the superfood liver is an excellent source of vitamins such as A, D, E, folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron. You get a powerhouse of nutritional benefits at the fraction of the cost of most cuts of meat.
What is Igado
Pork Igado is an Ilocano stew made of strips of liver and pork tenderloin braised in a tangy and savory soy sauce-vinegar mixture along with spices such as garlic, onions, and bay leaves.
Other innards such as kidney and heart are also common additions as well green peas and bell peppers. Although this pork and liver dish is usually associated with pork menudo due to a few common ingredients, it’s actually closer in taste to adobo and very similar to the Kapampangan kilayin.
Tips on How to Make Ilocano Pork Igado
- I like to use tenderloin in this recipe but feel free to swap with pork belly or Boston butt if you prefer a fattier meat.
- Cut the pork and liver in uniform strips to ensure even cooking.
- Like in adobo, allow the vinegar to boil uncovered and undisturbed for a few minutes before adding the soy sauce and water to cook off the strong acid taste.
- Do not overcook the liver and add during the last 4 to 5 minutes of cook time to keep from turning tough and chewy. The “blood” in the liver will help naturally thicken the sauce.
- Pepper is an important flavor component of this pork and liver stew so make sure to generously season with freshly-cracked pepper. You can also add chopped finger chilies (siling haba) if you like a bit of heat.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced into strips
- 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch strips
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 4 garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, cracked
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound beef liver, cut into 1/2 inch strips
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
- salt to taste
- In a bowl, combine pork strips, vinegar, soy sauce, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Marinate for about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain meat from marinade, squeezing excess liquid. Reserve marinade and aromatics.
- In a pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add bell peppers and cook for about 30 seconds. Remove and set aside.
- In the pan, add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until color changes.
- Add onions, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves (from marinating pork) and cook until softened and pork is lightly browned.
- Add reserved marinade and bring to a boil, uncovered and without stirring, for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add water and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes or until pork is tender and liquid is reduced.
- Add liver, stirring gently to combine, and continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until liver is cooked through and sauce is thickened.
- Add green peas and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.
- Add bell peppers and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes or until tender yet crisp. Season with salt to taste. Serve hot.