10 Quick and Easy Snacks and Dishes You Can Make with Leftover Lechon
Nothing says, "it's the holidays" quite like succulent lechon. If you're not sure what to do with the extra meat and bones that are left after all the holiday overindulgence, here are a few fun ideas to help you shake things up. Don't let anything go to waste!
1 Make a lechon filling for bao buns.
If Chinese food is your thing, then use your leftover lechon to make bouncy bao buns. Take freshly steamed cuapao buns (you can find them in the supermarket's freezer section) and fill them with warmed lechon, hoisin sauce, fresh cilantro, crushed peanuts, and a sprinkling of brown sugar.
2 Toss lechon into pasta with extra garlic.
Porky, garlicky pasta is only a toss of a pan away, especially if you're smart about your leftovers. Just brown a good number of crushed garlic cloves over medium high heat before tossing in cooked pasta (you can even use leftovers), a handful of roughly chopped parsley, chopped up lechon, and a scattering of grated cheese. Serve hot!
3 Add a meaty crunch to fresh salads.
Croutons aren't the only things that can add texture to your salad. For an added bit of salty, meaty crunch, fry chopped up bits of lechon (skin and all), until you're left with crispy morsels. Toss into your favorite mix of fresh salad greens for a special treat.
4 Use the lechon head to make homemade sisig!
Got stuck with the lechon's head? Don't worry; you can turn it into everyone's favorite bar chow in a jiffy! All you have to do is chop up all the head's meaty bits (remove any bones and chewy cartilage) and simmer in a mix of soy sauce, calamansi juice, red onions, black pepper, bay leaves, and chilies. Add a dollop of liver spread and a freshly cracked egg, and you're good to go.
5 Fry up a batch of lechon lumpia.
For a little extra crunch, try using your lechon to make spring rolls. Fill up lumpia wrapper with whatever ingredients suit your fancy to go alongside the pork: Try fresh herbs for a Vietnamese roll, or some extra meat for something more familiar and filling.
6 Use extra pork bones as a base for a pork stock.
Use the bony remains of last night's festivities to make a hearty pork stock for all sorts of recipes. In a stockpot, cover the lechon bones (flesh and skin removed), along with a handful of aromatics like onions, peppercorns, garlic, and celery leaves, with water then boil for 30 minutes to an hour. You can even freeze this all-purpose stock.
7 Make a quick pulled pork dish.
The best thing about leftovers is that they let you skip the long cooking processes of some of your favorite recipes. Take, for instance, pulled pork. After shredding precooked pork (lechon in this case), all you have to do is add a good dose of your favorite bottled barbecue sauce and heat it up. Serve straight on a toasted bun or alongside rice and beans.
8 Flash fry pieces of lechon to make Asian favorites.
Chefs have been twice-frying their food for ages, so why not try it at home? Dredge some leftover lechon meat with seasoned cornstarch, and then fry in a pot of hot oil until just golden brown. (There's no need to make sure that the meat is cooked through, because it already is!) Toss these crispy morsels in a sweet chili sauce with a handful of diced pineapples for a take on the takeout classic.
9 Whip up a super quick sinigang.
You can whip up sinigang in a hot minute with leftover lechon! All this sour, sprightly Pinoy-cooking staple needs is a packet of instant sinigang mix, the usual vegetable suspects (kangkong, labanos, and gabi), and a healthy serving of lechon. Cook the sinigang mix according to package directions, add the pork and veggies, simmer, and season to taste.
10 Mix in peppers for Tex-Mex favorites.
For something a little bit spicier, try turning your leftover lechon into fajitas, the sizzling Tex-Mex classic. Season your pork with hot spices like paprika, cayenne, and cumin; toss with sliced onions and bell peppers; then cook and serve in a searing hot castiron skillet. Serve with flour tortillas or warm rice.
Article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Yummy magazine. Minor edits have been made by Yummy.ph editors.