We have a cold weather due typhoon Juaning. PAGASA declared that Pangasinan is signal # 2 so automatically no classes for pre-school and elementary schools therefore I got extra time to cruise with kids and cook a tough hearty soup, NILAGANG BAKA (BEEF STEW), to give us a warm this rainy day. Easy to cook but tough to tender. Hihi.
NILAGA is best known soup dish of Pinoys. Nilaga is a boiled dish of meats like pork, chicken, beef and even fish. It is trouble-free dish since you just have to put in water in your pot, boil it and plunge the meat, wait until tender, dunk your favorite vegetables and season to make a very tasty soup. Some prefer cooking this dish with beef bone marrows but I had second thoughts of buying them since I am lately cutting Royce’s cholesterol intake. I also added some Saging na Saba to give a little sweet flavor to make the dish more kid-friendly and even more nutritious. My mom once suggested me to add some slices of chorizo de bilbao in my Nilagang Baka. At first, I was hesitant to add Spanish Sausage in my all-Pinoy dish, but truly Mom knows best. It laced my Nilaga dish with garlic, pimenton, cumin and oregano mixture of taste.
Yes, any Nilaga dish is very easy but what makes this NILAGANG BAKA tough is the grueling 2-3 hours of boiling the beef chunks. I want my beef chunks to be effortlessly pieced with spoon and fork and stress-free when chewing the meat. Unfortunately, this Nilagang Baka dish will be just so easy if I can only find where my pressure cooker regulator is.
If you want to make you Nilagang Baka more creamy, you can mash the potatoes to give a starchy and creamy soup. You can also add cream or milk. Well, whatever your pick for a Nilaga dish, it will surely taste good.
NILAGANG BAKA (BEEF STEW)
1 kilo beef chunks
2 large onions, peeled and halved
6-8 onion cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
10-12 black peppercorns
4 pieces saging na saba
1 chorizo de bilbao (optional)
1 liter water
Put water, beef, onions, garlic, pepper and salt in a big cooking pot. With medium heat, bring to slow boil. This will let the flavor blend with the water rather than sealing the beefy flavor if you cook it in full boil. Cook until beef is tender, about one and a half hour to two hours or even longer. You may add little water to adjust its amount.
If meat is already tender, add saging na saba, chorizo de bilbao, and potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add cabbage. Season your Nilagang Baka with salt and fish sauce. You may also add water for more soup. Boil for another minute.
Serve your Nilagang Baka while hot with white rice.