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Pig for Christmas: what are the tastiest cuts to renew the Christmas Eve menu?

The Turkey he is the king of the tables christmas undoubtedly; However, this delicious bird that we eat religiously every December 24 is not the only best option. The pork It has been gaining more prominence in recent years in the dinner of Peruvian families, with greater and better quality options and increasingly leaving behind an unfair and bad reputation.

Bacon, bondiola or leg, which of these three cuts will make you smell Christmas? In this note we talk with Félix Yongby El Chinito, and Renzo Garibaldi, of bone, so they can tell us the benefits of each cut, characteristics, cooking tips and suggestions for the best side dishes.

Creole and oriental flavors

El Chinito is one of the most traditional chicharronerías in Lima. It was founded in 1960 by Don Félix, Félix Yong’s father, in the Center of Lima. The famous place remains on the corner of Jirón Zepita and Chancay. Currently, El Chinito has 11 stores in Lima, maintaining the flavor and quality of yesteryear, as well as Don Félix’s recipes.

We talked to Félix Yong about the pig as a tasty alternative to the recurring Christmas turkey. “The pork belly or bacon and the pork leg (not the arm) are two cuts that are presented as a very good alternative to the traditional turkey,” says Yong, especially in recent years in which the pig has taken center stage: ” Especially because they are taking care of the pig’s genetics. The era of pigs raised behind a house, fed with products that were not foodstuffs, we are talking about the current raising of pigs, where the food composition undoubtedly has a high range of composition has passed ”.

One of the qualities that Yong highlights is that if the fatty part is not wanted, the skin is simply removed and the fat that remains underneath: “What remains is lean meat or pure meat as in the case of the leg. In the case of bacon or bacon, it is like the difference between Angus meat and any other type of meat: the fat in the middle of the muscles makes the bacon more exquisite due to the presence of that fat. It’s like beef, one thing is to eat a strip roast and another to eat a steak, strip roast is much fattier and therefore tastier, it must be said as is “.

A roast pig is another option for this Christmas.  (Photo: iStock)

As for the preparation, Félix Yong recommends two irresistible ways to cook it, with the Creole flavor or in the oven-baked oriental style. “It can be with a Creole touch using garlic, panca chili, mirasol, pepper, cumin, and they are spread with brine from one day to the next. It must be left in the refrigerator for hours so that the salt is introduced into the piece you choose and, when you cut it, it already has the flavor in the depths of its being ”.

At parties, El Chinito sells options such as roast and pig legs with their oriental touch. Yong tells us what this flavor consists of: “It not only has Peruvian ingredients but also Chinese ingredients such as mensi, soy sauce (soy sauce) and a little bit of Chinese cinnamon. These three ingredients are added to the Creole part such as salt, garlic, seasoning, Peruvian pisco. The mixture comes out a Peruvian product with an oriental touch. If you want to eat a juicy and soft meat texture, you would have to lean towards the bacon, but if you want to eat lean meat and zero fat, better eat turkey ”. But if you are not so drastic, Yong recommends not to miss out on using a pork leg without the skin and removing all the fat: “In the end it will give you a 100% lean meat product,” says the expert.

A sweet potato puree with apple chunks is an inexpensive and delicious side dish.  (Photo: Samantha Aguilar / GEC)

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The cooking time will vary according to the weight of the product, a bacon takes about three hours and a leg depending on the size, in this case Yong recommends young pork leg. Regarding the accompaniments, Yong rescues that it will depend on the family taste, but they can be considered apple puree that goes very well with the pig. As for the bondiola, Yong says that it tends to dry out very quickly because it is soft meat, so you should be aware of the meat and pour juice on it. If you want to innovate and prepare Christmas dinner in a Chinese box or cylinder, Félix Yong advises using the bacon, with the same preparation and cooking for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the weight.

Apple and various accompaniments

“Pork is an extremely easy meat to accompany,” says Renzo Garibaldi, one of the main meat references in the country and creator of the Osso restaurant and butcher shop. “For me, specifically at home, the accompaniments can be a very creamy rice with mushrooms, a medium Arab rice with fried noodles, a potato salad (which is never missing at home) with some bacon and capers. Sweet potato puree is great or an apple puree, we know that pork and apple tie together super well. A salad is never too much, with spinach, arugula, watercress, cherry tomatoes or thickly sliced ​​tomatoes ”, says the expert butcher.

Regarding the cuts, Garibaldi prefers the bondiola for Christmas: “We inject it with a brine, we can cook it in a vacuum if we want and then finish it in the oven or simply in a very very slow oven, at a low temperature so that it remains reddish inside and not going to dry out. It is a cut that has a lot of collagen and fat, so it will be juicy. Of the three, it is the one that will be the juiciest ”. Garibaldi likes to work the bondiola with a little honey, mustard, herbs and a mixture that they call bear perfume, although he appeals to the freedom of each chef in charge of the Christmas dinner to give flavor to the cut, according to the taste and tradition of each table.

Bacon is an Osso classic.  In the image you can see his pork belly confit for 10 hours.  (Instagram: Osso)

As for the bacon for Christmas, Garibaldi cooks it in the classic oven, skin side up with salt, letting the skin dry first, resulting in a crispy bacon with a super juicy interior. “When we talk about large parts such as bacon, we need an oven or convection heat, but only the part that is in contact with the fire will be cooked and it will end up burning and the rest will come out raw. We need an oven, a china box or a litter works too. You can cut it into strips and make it in a barrel like smoked, which is a different way of making it at Christmas, with an soy sauce with hoisin, a little sugar and hints of lemon. A bacon will come out between Chinese and crilled, we add a chili pepper and we can have a different option for Christmas ”. If it is a leg, Garibaldi would prepare it in the oven: “Boneless, tied, as if it were almost a ham, with a marinade of yellow chili, mirasol, panca, very Peruvian so that it has a lot of flavor”.

Apples are important accompaniments for the pig, their flavors come together in tune.  (Photo: Pexels)

With these options of cuts, accompaniments and recommendations to cook them this holiday, do you still have doubts about what to cook this December 24? Betting on the pig is a good option, experts recommend it.


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