Lucban in the Philippines’ Quezon Province is best known for its ‘Pahiyas’ Festival.
Held every 15th of May in honor of San Isidro Labrador, it is the farmers’ thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest with a grand display of colorful rice wafers, fruits, vegetables, and handicrafts adorning every house in the town.
But Lucban is also known for its local cuisine, including its longganisa, Pancit Hab-hab and the Hardinera.
The Hardinera (translated as female gardener) is a unique take on the meatloaf or the embutido. The one big difference with Hardinera is that it uses pork cubes instead of ground pork. Other ingredients may vary depending on how fancy one would like to be. The “full version” includes hot dog, chorizo, bell peppers, raisins, boiled egg, cheese, liver spread, even pineapple.
The Hardinera is usually cooked in a steamer, but we’ve chosen to prepare it in a regular oven. You will need a round, oval or square tin mould.
This recipe approximates the full version, but you can always skip an ingredient or two.
1 lb pork shoulder, sliced into tiny cubes
4 pcs. hot dog, sliced into tiny cubes
1 pc Chinese sausage, sliced into tiny cubes
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
3 pcs sliced pineapple (whole)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 small can, liver spread
1 hardboiled egg, shelled, and quartered
2 eggs, beaten
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsps tomato paste
1 cup, Panko breadcrumbs
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small white onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp, Olive oil
1/4 cup water
Heat Olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onions. Add pork slices and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour water and reduce heat to low. Continue to cook until meat is tender. Add bell peppers, Chinese sausage, hot dog, and raisins and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and place mixture in a medium bowl. Mix in pineapple tidbits, cheese, liver spread and breadcrumbs.
In a slightly greased mould, place the pineapple whole slices at the bottom, then place the hardboiled eggs on top of the pineapple. Add half of the meat mixture along with half of the beaten eggs. Apply pressure to the mixture so that it sets to the bottom of the mould. Add the remaining meat mixture and beaten eggs, applying pressure towards the bottom of the mould. Cover the mould with aluminum foil.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Place about 2 cups hot water in a deep baking pan and place at the bottom rack of the oven.
Place the mould on the top rack of the oven.
Cook for about 90 minutes
Remove from the oven and let cool in the refrigerator for about an hour before transferring the cooked meat mixture (upside down) to a serving plate.