Pork Estofado with saba bananas, carrots, Chinese sausage, and a sweet and savory sauce. Perfect with steamed rice!
I've always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen. I think it's fascinating how a simple addition, subtraction, or substitution of one or two ingredients can completely transform one dish into another.
Take, for instance, our tomato-based meat stews. They're similar in their mode of preparation and the use of onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Yet by changing up a few parts such as inserting wick of fat in mechado or adding chili peppers in calderata, green peas in afritada, or liver in menudo, we get different sets of flavor.
Now, the perennial adobo. Add brown sugar and banana blossoms to the ubiquitous soy sauce and vinegar braising mixture and you have paksiw na pata. Replace the banana blossoms with saba bananas, throw in some carrots and Chinese sausages, and you have this delicious pork estofado.
- The recipe uses pork shoulder, but pork belly or hocks are also great options if you prefer a fattier cut.
- Slice the pork into uniform size to ensure even cooking.
- For best texture, use ripe but firm saba bananas. Pan-fry the fruit until lightly browned before adding to the stew to keep from falling apart.
- Sear the meat to add color and depth of flavor.
- Use brown sugar and not white. It has a slightly less concentrated sweetness and contains molasses.
How to serve
- Serve with steamed rice for a hearty lunch or dinner.
- Estofado is a great make-ahead meal as it freezes and reheats well. To store for future use, allow to cool completely and transfer in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
- To reheat, place in a saucepan and heat until internal temperature reads 165 F.
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 4 saba bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick crosswise
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
- ¾ cup vinegar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick chunks
- 3 Chinese sausage, cut into ½-inch thick
- In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add bananas and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- Remove oil from the pan except for about 2 tablespoons. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add vinegar and continue to cook, without stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add soy sauce and water and bring to a boil, skimming scum that may float on top.
- Lower heat, cover and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes or until meat is tender.
- Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Season with pepper to taste.
- Add carrots and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until tender.
- Add Chinese sausage and bananas and cook until heated through. Season with salt to taste.
- Continue to cook until pork is fork-tender and sauce is reduced. Serve hot.