Want to serve something festive to your loved ones? Try out this meatloaf dish called the Hardinera by reading this recipe article below! Don’t miss out on the tips to make the best hardinera and some trivia along the way.
What is Hardinera?
Hardinera or Lucban Hardinera (because it originated from Lucban, Quezon), is a type of a steamed meatloaf dish here in the Philippines.
This is typically served during fiestas, which is why it has that festive presentation. The meatloaf dish is made of pork cut into cubes, partnered with tomato sauce or tomato paste and ketchup, which is cooked first, and then steamed afterwards.
Common garnishes used are bell peppers, hard-boiled eggs, pineapples. You can also often see bell peppers, carrots, raisins, sausages in the mix.
Embutido or Hardinera?
One notable difference of the two is the embutido uses ground meat as the main ingredient and is steamed, after arranging it in the aluminum foil. Hardinera uses diced pork as the main ingredient and is also cooked similar to a menudo, before proceeding to the steaming part.
The embutido looks simpler in presentation, because it is a simply a mixture of ingredients which is made into a roll. The hardinera on the other hand looks much more festive because of the garnishes with intricate looking cuts such as the pineapple florets.
How to Make Hardinera?
There are tons of ways you can prepare the Hardinera, as said by many people, even from the place where this originated—Quezon. But don’t worry about all that, this recipe will give you straightforward steps which will yield you a successful hardinera.
For this recipe just prepare a large and deep cooking pot wherein you let the oil in over medium heat.
The first thing to do is to saute the garlic and onions until they get soft and have that presentable aroma. We are going to do this cooking as straightforward as possible so toss in the meat and add in tomato paste and tomato ketchup, along with water and some salt and pepper.
When the pork mixture gets tender, add in the other ingredients like luncheon meat, pineapples, bell peppers, sweet pickle relish, raisins, cheese, and continue to cook until the sauce has already reduced and is thick enough.
You can try to adjust the taste by adding more water if the flavors are too strong for you.
Let the meat cool down after that and then arrange the garnish in a llanera, then put the pork mixture into it, making sure that there are little to almost no gaps, and then steam!
In about 30 minutes, the hardinera will be ready, and you have the options to serve it warm or cold.
- Don’t forget to grease the llaneras you use with butter and line with wax paper or banana leaves. This will make your life a lot easier because you can remove the meat easily with that after steaming. One good thing about it also is the scent from the banana leaves will give that nice signature feel for the hardinera.
- Before mixing the beaten eggs with the meat, it is a good idea to let the meat cool down first because when the temperature of the meat is still too hot, the eggs won’t be able to mix and bind completely with the meat mixture. So you need to have a couple of extra minutes or an hour when preparing this dish.
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Hardinera (Lucban Meatloaf) Recipe
- Cooking Pot
- 1 kg pork butt, cut into cubes
- 1 pc medium-sized onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ¾ cup tomato ketchup
- 2 cups water
- 1 can luncheon meat, diced
- 1 pc large red bell pepper
- 1 cup pineapple tidbits
- ¼ cup sweet pickle relish
- 2 tbsp raisins
- ½ cup cheese, shredded
- 4 pcs egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 pcs sliced pineapples
- 1 pc small-sized carrot, cut into flowers
- 2 pcs egg, hard-boiled, cut into half
- 1 pc small-sized green bell pepper, cut into strips
- In a deep cooking pot, pour in and heat the cooking oil over medium heat.
- Add in the garlic and onion. Saute until soft and aromatic.
- Add in the pork cubes, tomato ketchup, tomato paste, water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 40 to 60 minutes or until meat is tender.
- Remove cover but continue to cook until the sauce thickens. Add in the luncheon meat, red bell pepper, pineapple tidbits, sweet pickle relish, raisins, cheese, and salt.
- Cook until the sauce is almost completely absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl and let the meat cool down.
- Add in the beaten eggs and mix until well-incorporated.
- Prepare the llaneras and grease with melted butter and line with a banana leaf or a wax paper and top/arrange the garnish ingredients.
- Scoop the pork mixture into the llanera, making sure that it is filled nicely.
- Cover the llaneras with the aluminum foil. Transfer to a steamer and steam for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pork mixture is set.
- Let it cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to a serving tray or serving plate by placing the llanera top-side down. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!
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