Welcome to adobo-down-under!

Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beef Pares

“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.” - Norman Kolpas

Beef Pares is an absolute comfort food.  It is one of the few dishes which mum and dad both love.  You all know that dad and me are white-chocolate and dark-chocolate in contrast.  Which is why I am the one in the kitchen, and he is the one at the dining table.  But with this dish, we are united.  Beef pares is one of the many Filipino dishes we have fond memories of and the top dish we miss from Manila.  It was our first food trip stop when we visited family in December 2010.  Along the streets of Dapitan in La Loma Quezon City, before you get to the throngs of spit roast pig vendors lining up the sidewalks as if  fences, there is that small corner eatery where people sit on round mismatched stools and order over the counter and devour this unique street food.  The "original" beef pares is their claim.  And having tried others, this place is indeed the pioneer of it all. 

"Pares" is Filipino word for pair, as the Beef is paired with garlic rice and a beef stock soup.  The dish resembles the Chinese Beef Brisket dish where the distinct flavour is the addition of the star anise.  Like  many other cultural influences in Philippine cuisine, this has become uniquely Filipino by the pairing with rice and soup, and the manner of which it is sold, served and eaten.  Right there in the streets of Dapitan, with tricycles and jeepneys driving past behind you as sip your soup, take in some beef with garlic rice and savouring the moment.  Comfort food at its best.  

A friend of ours here in Sydney makes this special dish and brings us some ration every time.  We've never tried to make this at home because I thought it would be too complicated.  And I've found out just recently that its not that hard.  So this was a weekday dinner surprise.  Thanks to Panlasang Pinoy for the recipe and to Tita C for the inspiration, this will now become a staple lunch/dinner dish in our home.

To make Beef Pares:

1-1.5k beef brisket (usually sold by butchers, cling wrapped)
 4-5 cup water (for broth)
1/4 c dark soy sauce
1/4 c sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 medium-sized onion, minced
2 pcs star anise
cooking oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup of onion leaves/green onions for garnish/topping

Prepare pot with cold water and add the whole brisket.  Bring to a boil then simmer until meat is tender, around 1-1.5 hours in a regular pot (shorter if using a pressure cooker).  Make sure to skim the stock from fat and impurities.

Once cooked, set pot aside.  Take the meat off the stock and cut into chunks/cubes. Set aside.

In a separate sauce pan, heat cooking oil and cook the garlic, ginger and onion until soft.  Add the meat and sear for 2-3 minutes.

Add soy sauce, pepper, sugar and 1-2 cups of the beef stock, then bring to a boil.

Add star anise and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until sauce thickens.  Add some more stock if preferred.

Serve in a bowl with green onions for garnish.

Garlic Rice
2-3 cups cooked (cold preferred) rice
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat a shallow pan, add cooking oil and saute the garlic until slightly brown.  Add the rice and stir through.  Season with salt and pepper.

Beef Soup
Using the beef stock from the beef brisket, pass the stock through a sieve into another pot. Bring to a simmer and season with salt and pepper.  Serve in a bowl and garnish with some chopped onion leaves for added flavour.

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