Thursday, January 15, 2009

Embutido (Philippine Pork Roll)

Embutido is a Filipino celebration staple. One usually finds embutido served on birthdays, on holidays, and on other celebratory days.

One can describe embutido as a meat log or a meat roll, usually made from ground pork, stuffed with eggs and one or a variety of other meat-products, and studded with raisins and peppers.

To me, it has a characteristically "Filipino" taste, a sum of all its various ingredients.

Since we've never made embutido before, we had to hit the 'net for recipes. After sifting through numerous versions, I mixed and matched until I came up with this version. Let's call it the [eatingclub] vancouver version. =)

To begin, I prepared the "stuffing". We hard-boiled some eggs and sliced some vienna sausages. Both of them are essential!

Pork Filling
After that, everything else got mixed together.

"Everything" consisted of:
ground pork
sweet pickle relish
chopped ham
grated cheese
green & red bell peppers
grated carrots
chopped onions
minced garlic
Worcestershire sauce
salt & black pepper

Just some of the ingredients for embutido.
Clockwise from carrots: carrots, onions and garlic buzzed together, raisins, green & red bell peppers, grated cheese, chopped ham, and in the middle: sweet pickle relish.

It does sound like a long list, but everything came together really easily. I buzzed the carrots, onions and garlic together in the food processor, and we had some leftover Kraft Tex-Mex cheese lying around, so I didn't even have to grate the cheese myself. See, easy!

To bind the lot, I used six eggs. Some of the recipes I looked at called for some cornstarch as well but I only used the eggs.

I always mix meat mixtures by hand. So, I dug in. This was a very large batch of pork filling mixture, so I had to stand on a stool to get the leverage I needed to mix the ingredients in the bowl. Here was the result.

In all its ground meat glory!

Now for the fun part: the rolling. This calls for spreading a thin layer of the pork filling, laying the hardboiled eggs and vienna sausages in a line, and rolling this into a log.

That above was my first attempt and I made a few mistakes. Actually, just one: I put too much pork mixture on the foil (too thick a layer and too big a rectangle), ending up with a giant roll. So, I ended up having to split the pork filling mixture in two and making 2 rolls out of it. I also spread a very thin layer of sweet pickle relish on the pork filling before adding the "stuffing", to make the finished roll a tad sweeter.


Cooking embutido traditionally calls for steaming them, but we have no such contraption that would be able to steam 11 rolls at a time. We turned to the oven.

Usually, one would place a rack above a bain marie and cover the whole thing to create a "steamer". Unfortunately, we didn't have anything that would be able to house all 11 embutido rolls. Of course, we can always batch-cook them, but you know me and batch-cookery. (We're the opposite of BFFs.)

The best we could do was place all the rolls on the oven rack itself, then have a sheet pan underneath with hot water. This is less efficient because the whole oven acted as the "steamer", but it had to do.

After 45 minutes to 1 hour (I don't think you can overcook these things), they came out of the oven.

Wait a minute, how come there's only 10 rolls?

We actually unrolled one and ate it. Well, we had to test it out and see if it was fit for the Starry, Starry Night dinner!

We made this the day before. If we didn't need this many rolls for the party, we could've given them as gifts! I remember us receiving rolls of embutido from various people throughout the years. They would be given in their foil-log shapes, actually.

Our embutido wasn't as pink as previous ones we've eaten before. It is probably because our "steamer" wasn't a very good steamer; the rolls were still "roasted" in the oven, not steamed. Our rolls were a little loose, so we could add a couple more eggs or maybe a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch next time.

Taste-wise, though, it was fantastic!

As I said, for some reason, the embutido has a characteristically Filipino taste to me. It had a slight pâté-liver-like smokiness from the vienna sausage combined with the sweetness of the raisins and the relish. Usually, embutido is eaten with ketchup or banana ketchup ("ketchup" made from bananas), but I'm not a ketchup-lover so I dispense with the ketchup. The red and green peppers also add that capsicum mellow sweetness and brightness to the log.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this embutido being delicious and tasting authentic, given that we never made it before.

I was surprised that I liked eating embutido, as I had never really liked them before. Maybe it's the nostalgia? Or maybe it's because they're good.

Use embutido as stuffing for Rellenong Manok!
Rellenong Manok (Deboned Whole Chicken stuffed with Sweet & Savory Pork Filling)

We served embutido for our New Year's Eve party:
A Starry, Starry Night in Vancouver -- Evoking the Philippine Christmas Spirit

Embutido (Philippine Pork Roll)
Makes 10 to 12 rolls
(Each roll approximately 9" in length, 2 1/2" in diameter)

Recipe can be halved easily.

10-12 eggs
2-3 cans vienna sausages (4oz cans)

Pork Filling
6 pounds ground pork
1 1/2 cups sweet pickle relish
1 1/2 cups chorizo or ham, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated cheese (cheddar or similar; we used Kraft Tex-Mex blend)
1 green bell pepper (approx. 1/2 to 3/4 cup, diced)
1 red bell pepper (approx. 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup, diced)
2-3 carrots, grated
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic
2 cups raisins
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt & black pepper, to taste
6-8 eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)

Prepare the "stuffing" ingredients. Hardboil eggs. Cool, peel, and cut into halves or into wedges of 4 per egg. Drain vienna sausages and cut in half.

To prepare the pork filling, combine all pork filling ingredients and mix well.

For each roll, prepare a piece of aluminum foil, approximately 12 inches in width and 24 inches in length. Lightly grease one side.

With the 12-inch side facing you, spread a thin layer of meat on the foil, leaving room on the left and right sides, making a rectangle approximately 9" in width and 6" in length. Place wedges of hardboiled egg and slices of vienna sausage along the width.

Using the foil, roll the meat mixture away from you so that it forms a roll stuffed with hardboiled eggs and vienna sausages. Roll the log, sealing each end/side, and use up all of your foil. This ensures that the log is encased tightly.

To cook, steam for about 1 hr. To cook in the oven, place logs on a rack above a bain marie. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for approximately 45 minutes.

For each log: Let cool slightly, unroll, and slice.

[eatingclub] vancouver Filipino food
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Faux Kamote-Que
Philippine-Style Chicken "BBQ"
Fried Hasa Hasa (Mackerel)
"Savory" Chicken Wings
Sinamak (Chile-infused Vinegar)
Pan-roasted Halibut w/ Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes & Bagoong Butter Sauce
Bulalo & Bangus: an even simpler Filipino meal
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Oyster Torta (Oyster Omelette)
Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup w/ Green Papaya & Pepper Leaves)
(Chinese) Roast Pork Belly / Lechon
Tilapia wrapped in Banana Leaves
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Chicken Adobo
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) & Lechon Sauce
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Bistek (Citrus Beef with Caramelized Onions)
Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines) and Pressure Cooker Fear


  1. The raisins really threw me for a loop. I don't know about that... And Vienna sausages too?

  2. Oh Wandering, it's really, really good, trust me :) It's one of my favorite "fiesta fare" in the Philippines (I'm a ketchup lover though). At home, we also sometimes mash a bit of the sausages to go with the meat. We don't add ham, cheese, or bell peppers, but they sound like GREAT additions. Well done!

  3. Wow, I've got to try this! Looks so delicious and full of flavours.

  4. So pretty... and it's a really interesting combo of flavors. I love watching you guys experiment!!

  5. you're taking me back to my childhood once again! I love embutido but prefer it without raisins... and I always tried to snag the piece with the largest chunk of egg!

  6. Wandering Chopsticks:
    Teehee. Well, think of the Vienna sausages as just some osrt of pork product... like ham, or some such thing. As for the raisins, they tend to be used for these kind of "stuffing" mixtures. They just lend a sweetness. As Mark/Manggy says, you have to trust us. ;) Or maybe, think of it as one of those dishes that use dried fruits, like Moroccan dishes... or even Sicilian food with raisins and pinenuts. =)

    I saw some other recipes that call for the Vienna sausages to be mixed in with the meat mixture. I don't think we really need the cheese in there. But we had to use up that Tex-Mex blend somehow!

    Tell us how it goes.

    Hehe, not an experiment. It's actually a pretty standard dish.

    I used to dislike embutido in general-- and I think it was because of the raisins too! But, they weren't bad at all, this time around. =)


  7. Love this stuff.. I was always a bit partial to the raisins, though. Not my favorite texture but always delicious as a whole.

  8. Cool! It's like meatloaf:-)

  9. wow. that looks bizarre, meaty and delicious. at first i thought it was a scotch egg, but soon realized how wrong i was. what an interesting mixture of flavors... i'm in.

  10. Jude:
    I didn't used to like the raisins in embutido as well. But I don't know... perhaps they "deteriorated" in this one and simply imparted their flavor without being too raisin-y themselves.

    Marc @ NoRecipes:
    Yup! It just happens to be in a log form... and has all those sweet elements. =D

    we are never full:
    Oh, I guess it's sort of similar to a scotch egg (which, by the way, I didn't even know existed until recently). I would love to see the we-are-never-full twist to embutido!

  11. Hi there. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Just a question, on the last part of the procedure says: cover the pan with foil?..I am confused, which pan? The one with water underneath? Thank you for helping. I am keen to do this ASAP! :)

    1. Hi Jinky!

      If you can steam your embutido in a steamer (stovetop), that would be ideal.

      For cooking in the oven, assuming that you don't have so any rolls like we did, you can place a rack inside a deep-sided pan. Add water to the pan, then put the rolls on the rack, then cover the pan with foil (to create a "steamer" environment). Hope it turns out well for you!


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