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Chicago winter is one of the coldest in the country. There are weeks wherein the average temperature ranges between 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit; there are also days where it falls below zero (not to mention the wind chill factor which makes it colder). During this season, a single cup of hot chocolate or coffee really helps in making oneself warm. Hot soups and porridge are also ideal for dinner.
While I was driving home from work last night, I suddenly thought of having Goto (Filipino porridge) for dinner. My craving was so intense that I immediately checked the freezer after arriving hoping for some extra ox tripe. Wait, we haven’t gone to the grocery yet for the week – I realized. All that’s left are pork bellies and some beef brisket. How about chicken? There has to be at least a leg quarter somewhere; I’m planning to make Arroz Caldo instead. It turned out that I used the last chicken leg quarter for another dish a few days before. I’m pretty sure that I won’t make any pork belly porridge – I’m just not a fan of the combination. How about some Beef Lugaw instead (or whatever they call it)?
I haven’t tried making porridge or congee from beef brisket before: this can be a good experiment. I thawed the last pound of beef brisket that I got from the freezer and cubed it. I grabbed my ever reliable pressure cooker and started sautéing some garlic and chopped onions then added the beef right away. A few cups of water were also added before the pot was sealed. I wanted the meat to be very tender so I let it cook for more than 30 minutes. Times up – now the pressure needs to be released from the pot right away; there’s nothing like the old fashioned method of placing the pot under running cold water. I added some spices and flavorings and some cups of water more and off it goes to the stove top to boil again. Lastly, a few cups of rice were added to complete the process. I really don’t know how to call this dish; beef lugaw sounds nice – you think?