A weekend afternoon cooking project kind of thing!
Filipino Cocido Recipe with Three Meats and Roasted Vegetables
Adapted from a recipe in The Maya Kitchen's The Filipino Cookbook (Anvil Publishing, 2003).
1/2 kg stewing beef (cut into 1-inch chunks)
1/2 kg beef shanks (bone-in with marrow)
1/2 kg chicken thighs (about 3 pieces)
1/2 kg pork belly (cut into 1-inch chunks)
1 onion (quartered)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp whole peppercorns
8 cups cold water
500 g baby potatoes
500 g sweet potatoes (about 2 medium-sized pieces)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 plaintains (cut into 1-inch chunks)
500 g baby bok choy (rinsed thoroughly and halved)
500 g green beans (trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
4 Japanese eggplants
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked pepper (to taste)
In a dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, combine all ingredients for the broth. Bring to a slow (not rolling) boil; depending on your stovetop, this could take up to 30-45 minutes. Patience is key - turning up the heat will lead to a cloudy broth!
Set a timer to skim the surface of the broth for scum every 15 minutes using a large metal spoon; particularly with the inclusion of bone-in beef shanks, there will be a considerable amount of foam floating to the surface. Discard the scum collected immediately. This step is essential to producing a clear broth.
Once the broth reaches a low boil, reduce the heat to low. Keep an eye on the broth for about 5 minutes to ensure it is at a simmer (with bubbles slowly coming to the surface), then set your timer for 30 mins. Skim the surface of the broth for scum once or twice during this period.
Heat your oven to 375 F. Place the baby potatoes and whole sweet potatoes onto a sturdy sheet pan and pop your root vegetables into the bottom rack of the heated oven.
Divide the eggplants and loosely wrap each pair with tin foil. Place on a baking sheet. When the 30 minute timer rings, pop the eggplants into the top rack of your oven and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
After that timer rings, take the trays of root vegetables and eggplants out and set aside.
At this point, the meats will have been cooking in the broth for close to two hours - it's time to take them out. Using a slotted spoon or medium strainer, transfer the stewing beef, beef shanks, chicken thighs and pork belly to a large metal bowl. Cover lightly with cling film to prevent the meat from drying and set aside.
Add plantains into the pot, cover and continue to keep the broth at a low simmer while prepping the veg.
For your root vegetables, take a piece of each to check their doneness. For the baby potato, slice a piece in half and if its texture is like a standard baked potato, you're good; for the sweet potatoes, stick a knife through the thickest portion of the spud and if it pierces like butter, you are also good to go.
Halve each of the baby potatoes; transfer to a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potatoes (using a kitchen towel to hold the hot spuds in place) and cut into 1-inch chunks; add into the bowl with the baby potatoes. Set aside.
For the eggplants, snip off one end of the tin foil packet before unwrapping the entire package. (Pro tip: this allows steam to escape away from your face!)
Transfer eggplants to a cutting board and discard the tin foil. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score each eggplant all the way down lengthwise. Using a metal spoon, scoop the eggplant flesh out, leaving the skin behind (though it's okay to have remnants of eggplant skin in with the mixture, which should resemble a chunky, stringy applesauce in texture).
Transfer eggplant flesh to a medium bowl. Add garlic and vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Go back to the broth, still simmering on the stove. Add salt, taste, and add up to another 1/2 tsp of salt if the broth is not fully rounded out.
Toss bok choy and green beans into the broth; continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or medium strainer, take the bok choy and green beans out of the broth and add to the bowl of root vegetables (pushing the baby potatoes and sweet potatoes off to one side).
Unwrap the bowl of beef, pork and chicken pieces and tip everything back into the broth, then take the entire pot off the heat.
We're nearly there! Prepare large soup bowls and a ladle for serving. Ladle the meats to fill a third of the bowl, scoop the root vegetables into the second and the greens into the remaining third of the bowl. Ladle broth into the bowl until just below the meat and vegetables. Add a dollop of the eggplant sauce over the root vegetables.
If you're lucky (or in good standing with the cook), you get to enjoy the silky bone marrow along with everything else in the bowl. Enjoy!