This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
What are some of your favorite dishes from your hometown or province? Across the country there are a myriad of cuisines that exist which you can sort by region, town, or city. For instance, the Bicolanos’ renowned coconut milk-filled cuisine is to die for. Who can forget Ilocanos’ delicious and flavorful meat? And, of course, it’s hard not to love the Kapampangan’s love for spice. Across the country, different dishes are native to certain parts, of which its people are most proud. And the people of Lucban have much to celebrate in this delicious and filling hardinera.
Whether you call it jardinera or hardinera, the pronunciation of this dish remains the same. As do its flavors –– bold and bright, this delicious treat is a hodgepodge of different ingredients that fit together in miraculous perfection. Hardinera is Lucban’s own response to meatloaf with its own twist; in fact, many refer to this dish as a mix of meatloaf and another popular food, menudo! That’s right: all the flavors you know and love in a good menudo are available here, in a compact Ilanera.
Some refer to hardinera as “grocery meatloaf” due to the number of ingredients you can find in this dish. Indeed, this meatloaf’s flavors are complex for a reason; from pork to hotdogs, liver spread to pineapple chunks and more, hardinera has it all. Its long list of ingredients exceeds that of embutido’s and any other meatloaf variation there is. It’s no wonder this dish is such a treat at fiestas, family gatherings, and even baptisms. Wherever there’s a celebration, hardinera is sure to be around, too!
What makes hardinera different from embutido?
Many ask about the difference between these two classic dishes –– and for good reason! One look at the descriptions and visuals will tell you that they are quite similar. But a few things set hardinera apart, not just from embutido, but from other meatloaves, too.
Not only are there vastly more ingredients in hardinera than in embutido as we mentioned prior, but the presence of an Ilanera is a key difference. The egg you add to the bottom of the Ilanera ties all the ingredients of your hardinera together –– something your embutido doesn’t have. Furthermore, instead of being ground up, most of the ingredients in hardinera are diced and chopped. This makes your end product a lot less compact, but thicker and chunkier.
Embutido is generally the more popular meatloaf of choice in Filipino households. But you can’t discount the delicious and delightfully complex flavors of a great hardinera! If you have meatloaf in your house often, why not switch up the variation? While others may complain about the tedious process, cooking hardinera without a problem comes easier than you think. You can even try it with pork giniling!
But if you’re looking to see how to cook one of the easiest and most faithful to the original renditions of hardinera, read on to find out how!
How to Make Hardinera
Let’s make hardinera together! There’s a long list of ingredients you have to prepare, so it’s best to get those out of the way before you start cooking. Dice a medium sized onion, as well as half a cup of beef franks or hot dogs and a pound of pork. Be sure to mince 3 cloves of garlic, too. Grate a quarter cup of cheese, then slice or wedge 2 pieces of hard boiled eggs.
Prepare the rest of the ingredients. These include 2 cups of cooking oil, 1 cup of water, half a cup of tomato sauce, and a quarter cup of sweet pickle relish. Also involved are a quarter cup of raisins; half a teaspoon each of salt and ground black pepper; half of a beef cube; 1/2 cup of pineapple chunks; a quarter cup of roasted sweet pepper and liver spread; and half a cup of bread crumbs. Lastly, beat 2 pieces of raw eggs –– and get ready to start cooking!
To begin, pour 2 cups of cooking oil in a pot and sauté your garlic and onions. Add in your diced pork, and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. After putting your beef cube, water, and tomato sauce in as well, bring your hardinera to a boil. Let this combination simmer until your pork is as tender as you like. Your liquid should evaporate completely, too. Once both requirements have been met, set your dish aside and let it cool.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine your cooked pork, salt, ground black pepper, and beef franks. Your bread crumbs, liver spread, and sweet pickle relish go in, too. Don’t forget to add your pineapple chunks, raisins, and cheese! Incorporate all these ingredients together, mixing them well.
Grease an Ilanera then add in your sliced eggs and roasted sweet pepper. Pour about half of the beaten egg mixture in, ensuring that the eggs coat the bottom of the pan entirely. Add your pork mixture in, scoop by scoop, until it occupies at least ¾ of the total volume. When you’ve finished your mixture, cover the Ilanera with aluminum foil.
In your steamer, pour in at least 6 cups of water. Arrange the containers inside the steamer and let steam for about 50 minutes. When that time is up, your hardinera is supposed to be fully cooked!
Transfer your hardinera to a serving plate. If you want it cold, keep it inside the refrigerator for a few minutes to let it cool down. But if you enjoy this dish warm, well –– there you have it! Your hardinera is ready!
Share and enjoy this dish with the rest of your family. You don’t have to wait for a fiesta to come along to dig into this filling and flavorful meal. Let us know what you think of this hardinera!
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 medium sized onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb pork diced
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
- 1/2 cup beef franks or hotdogs diced
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 beef cube
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
- 1/4 cup roasted sweet pepper
- 1/4 cup liver spread
- 1/4 cup cheese grated
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 eggs hard boiled, sliced or wedged
- 2 eggs raw
- In a cooking pot, add cooking oil and sauté garlic and onions.
- Add the diced pork and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Put-in the beef cube, water, and tomato sauce then bring to a boil. Simmer until the pork is tender and the liquid completely evaporates. Set aside and let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pork, salt, ground black pepper, beef franks, bread crumbs, liver spread, sweet pickle relish, pineapple chunks, raisins, and cheese.
- Mix all the ingredients until everything is well incorporated.
- Grease a llanera and arrange the sliced eggs and roasted sweet pepper.
- Pour close to half of the beaten egg mixture and ensure that the eggs are well distributed on the llanera.
- Scoop the pork mixture in to the llanera until it occupies at least 3/4 of the total volume.
- Cover the whole llanera with aluminum foil.
- Pour at least 6 cups of water in the steamer. Arrange the containers in the steamer and steam for 50 minutes.
- Remove the steamed mixture from the llanera and transfer to a serving plate.
- Serve either hot or cold. Share and enjoy!