MANILA, Philippines - When it came to the Noche Buena, it used to be wala ng budget-budget,? said Nikki Banzon, who teaches Philippine Gastronomy at the American Hospitality Academy Philippines (108 Aguirre Bldg., HV de la Costa cor. Soliman Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati; tel. 8927372/7702). ?But now we have to. If we can?t afford an entire lechon, we just get the head, or we roast a chicken. Roasts are the stars of any feast.?
With generous helpings of creativity and imagination, a traditional Pinoy Noche Buena on tightened purse strings can be as festive as we want it, said Banzon. She helped plan a Noche Buena menu for six people consisting of traditional Filipino fare, with the culinary students of AHA and chef-instructor Thad Gayanelo. Lifestyle set the budget at P3,000.
Exceeding the limit by a few hundred pesos (very Pinoy, we might add), the AHA students came up with a banquet redolent of every Lola?s or Nanay?s kitchen.
There was morcon, a tender and flavorful log of beef sirloin; savory galantina; chorizo-dotted bringhe; and a beautifully roasted chicken.
The luscious ube halaya-leche flan dessert table even included extra treats like yema, tsokolate tablea, mangga?t suman, quezo de bola and jamon?the latter two round-shaped foods that Filipinos believe to be harbingers of good fortune.
Taking into account Pinoys? love for chicken, the students prepared two bird dishes, and served the rice dish bringhe in lieu of a noodle or pasta dish. They made sure it was a one-carb meal, such that the ubiquitous macaroni salad didn?t make its way on this table.
Save for the bringhe and roast chicken, all the dishes can be prepared a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, Gayanelo said.
They also showed how presentation can add pizzazz to an otherwise modest table. Roxanne Castillo, a student who headed the setup committee, used items readily found in the house to capture the authentic Filipino theme, like banig mats, candles and fresh-picked bougainvilleas to spruce up the table.
?We don?t usually put in this much effort in our own homes,? Castillo said, ?but you can see what difference a little trimming does to the mood.?
If the food seemed like ?too much for a family of six,? Banzon said this is typical of Filipinos. ?We like to have leftovers for the next day, and we always cook extra for relatives and friends who may drop in unannounced.?
1 whole chicken, cleaned
? c calamansi juice
? c soy sauce
1 pc tanglad (lemongrass)
4 cloves minced garlic
30 g minced ginger
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients and rub onto chicken. Stuff with washed tanglad leaves.
Marinate overnight in the chiller.
Preheat oven to 350?F to 425?F. Place chicken in roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour or until the thermometer reads 165?F for 15 seconds.
1.3 kg whole chicken, deboned
80 ml brandy
Ground chicken meat (from whole chicken)
500 g pork fat
Iodized salt, to taste
Ground white pepper, to taste
30 g bell pepper, diced medium
40 g dried apricot, soaked in brandy
35 g pistachio, blanched and peeled
A pinch of ground coriander
? c raisins
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 l chicken stock
70 g white onion, chopped
35 g carrots, chopped
35 g celery, chopped
1 pc bay leaf
5 g black peppercorn
2 g thyme
2 pc whole cloves
Iodized salt, to taste
Wash the deboned chicken and marinate in brandy. Chill overnight.
Carefully remove the chicken meat from the skin without tearing the skin. Process the chicken meat in the food processor until smooth. Add the pork fat just enough to coarsely chop.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and spread it onto the skin. Roll it into a log. Wrap it with cheesecloth and tie with butcher?s twine.
Mix all ingredients of the poaching liquid in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Submerge the rolled meat in the liquid and simmer for about two hours.
When done, don?t remove the meat from the poaching liquid. Just let it cool and wrap tightly before putting in the chiller overnight. Slice and serve chilled.
80 g pork belly, diced medium
45 ml vegetable oil
5 g galangal, minced
5 g garlic, minced
60 g red onion, chopped
3 stalks lemongrass, chopped
500 g chicken pieces, adobo cut
40 g red bell pepper, diced medium
40 g green beans
Patis, to taste
Black pepper, ground, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 c glutinous rice, soaked
1 pc Chinese chorizo, sliced
2 c water
60 ml coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric
Render pork. Add oil. Saute garlic, galangal, onion and lemongrass. Add turmeric, bell pepper and green beans. Add the rice and mix a little to coat. Season with salt and pepper and patis.
Add chorizo and water. Stir gently and bring to a boil. Simmer covered with banana leaves.
750 g beef sirloin, whole (to make into a roulade)
1 tsp each salt and pepper
75 g carrots, cut into batonette
75 g celery, batonette
3 pc chorizo Bilbao, batonette
3 tbsp pickle relish
? c grated quick-melt cheese
100 g sliced bacon
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
100 ml oil
2 pc onion, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
250 g tomatoes, chopped
300 ml tomato sauce
3 pc bay leaf
1-1? liter beef stock
Season the flattened meat with salt and pepper. On one side of the meat, line the carrots, celery and chorizo. Top with pickle relish and grated cheese.
Tightly roll the meat. Using a butcher?s twine, tie the meat. Start on one end and make a zigzag pattern on the meat, ensure that the end knot is on one end of the beef. Roll the roulade on flour.
In a heavy casserole, heat oil. Sear the meat on all sides until light brown. Remove the meat from the oil and set aside.
Using the same pan, saute the garlic, onions, tomato paste, bay leaf and chopped tomatoes for about three minutes. Add tomato sauce and beef stock and allow to simmer, about 8-10 minutes. Add the beef roulade. Allow to simmer for three hours, or until softened. Add more beef stock as needed. Remove from heat.
Remove the roulade from the sauce and allow to cool for easier slicing.
Strain the remaining sauce and reduce until thickened. Slice the roulade at least ?-inch thick. Serve with the sauce.
500 ml condensed milk
8 egg yolks
300 g granulated white sugar
Cook egg yolks and milk in a double boiler. Stir continuously until the mixture holds together and forms into a ball and shape into bite-size balls. Sprinkle a pan with the sugar. Roll yema balls in sugar and wrap individually in colored cellophane.
300 g white sugar
500 ml evaporated milk
7 egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla extract
? tsp lime zest
Caramelize 100-g sugar over low heat in a heavy saucepan. Pour to coat bottom of llanera.
Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, lime zest and remaining sugar in a bowl. Mix well and strain into the caramel-coated llanera. Bake in a bain-marie in a moderate, preheated oven (180?C) for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to 140?C and continue to bake for 15 more minutes. Cool and unmold to a serving platter.
750 g ube (purple yam)
200 g sugar
500 ml coconut milk
200 ml condensed milk
100 g butter
Boil the yam until tender. Peel and cut into cubes. Grind in a food processor with the sugar and coconut milk. Transfer to a heavy casserole.
Add the condensed milk and butter and cook over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture holds together and starts separating from the pan. Make sure the bottom doesn?t burn. Transfer to a pan lined with plastic film and allow to cool. Slice and serve.
1 l pineapple-orange juice
? c rum or brandy
1 pc apple, chopped
1 pc orange, halved and sliced thinly crosswise
1 can fruit cocktail
Mix all ingredients and serve.
Extras: Glazed ham, quezo de bola, pan de sal, tsokolate tablea, mangga?t suman