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Offal Meats for Traditional Filipino Recipes
Filipino cuisine deliciously incorporates every kind of meat in their dishes.
Some of the most popular types of meat used, commonly known as offal meat, are not as familiar to western eating. These includes beef and pork tongue, heart, cheek, and tail.
Offal or variety meats are making a comeback in other parts of the world as well. Their sustainability, tender meat, and nutritious content make it some of the most beneficial meat on the market.
Beneficial Offal Meat
Nose to tail eating (or consuming all parts the animal) has many advantages. First, it eliminates waste.
In the western cultures, we often discard perfectly good meat. The demand for steak and not cow tongue, for example, contributes to 31% of food wasted in the US every year.
However, many other cultures have embraced nose to tail eating and the results are mouthwatering. Not only are they more economical, but offal meats have vast nutritional benefits. They are loaded with essential minerals and vitamins which are not so prevalent in your Sunday roast.
Here are some variety meats common in Filipino cuisine that would make an excellent addition to any diet.
Oxtail originates, literally, from the tail of an ox. Though it can also be the tail of almost any animal.
A good oxtail stew is foundational in Filipino cooking.
Tail meat is one of the most tender pieces of meat a cow has to offer. And it offers an incredibly rich flavor to those who treat it with the tender care is deserves.
When cooking oxtail, it might initially seem tough and chewy. That is due to the collagen, or connective tissues, that are strung throughout the tail. But it is these tissues that actually make the meat so irresistible.
If you allow the meat to slowly simmer for several hours, the tough tissues break down to create a rich, juicy meat that melts in your mouth. It’s so delightful, you won’t think twice about the hours it took to prepare.
Oxtail is frequently used in a classic Filipino dish called Kare-Kare.
Oxtail meat is surrounded by copious amounts of fat and bone that must be removed. The meat should then be seared to preserve all the lovely juiced inside. And, finally, cooked slowly to perfection.
Oxtail stew is not only a popular dish of the Philippines, but graces the table of many cultures around the world, like in this traditional Hispanic traditional Hispanic Southern Oxtail Stew recipe.
Tripe comes from the lining of a cow’s stomach. There are two main types of tripe, smooth and honeycomb. These vary based on the part of the stomach they come from.
Despite its powerful, and potent, aroma when cooking, tripe is a wonderful piece to try. It also has one of the best nutritional values for red meat.
In a 3.5 ounce serving, there are only 89 calories and not even 4 grams of fat. However, you do get over 12 grams of protein, along with a good portion of minerals and vitamins.
Tripe is typically very muscular and can be rubbery unless cooked properly.
First, it must be properly cleaned. Usually, tripe with have a whitish color from being bleached to clean out all the impurities.
If so, you’ll need to rinse it a couple times in cool water and boil it in salty water to remove any remaining chlorine tastes or smells. If not, well, that requires a few extra steps of bleaching. Either way, it will be well-worth your efforts.
After the cleaning bit is over, tripe must be thoroughly cooked for it to become tender.
With its mild flavor, tripe has all kinds of possibilities. A proper cooking will give you a myriad of choices for using your tripe. For starters, try these tripas tacos.
Or for a classically Hispanic dish, try this menudo recipe. Menudo also has a long-standing tradition of curing hangovers.
Tongue is another surprising meat with a tender and delicious flavor.
Like our other unique meats, tongue must be slow-cooked to get the desired tenderness. After a good cooking, the tough outer layer can be easily peeled away to produce a tender, mild meat. Cut it up and fry it for some authentic beef tongue tacos.
Variety meats offer unlimited options for expanding your culinary horizons and savoring traditional Filipino cuisine.
Written by Beth Smith
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