Christmas is just a few weeks away. While many of us can’t wait to feast on another round of holiday ham, spaghetti, lechon, and other Noche Buena staples, it’s often more delightful to mix up the customary with something new.
And when it’s a celebrity that you take your inspiration from, it can become an instant conversation starter at the table.
PhilSTAR L!fe rounds up some of the holiday dishes that celebrities recommend to turn your family’s Christmas Eve even more flavorful this year.
Erwan Heussaff’s roast pork belly with pineapple sauce
Erwan Heussaff’s roast pork belly is a savory alternative to the traditional Christmas ham. It finishes juicy and crispy, especially if done right.
To get started, prepare the following ingredients: 1 slab of pork belly, 1 whole fresh pineapple, salt, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.
Begin by scouring the meat, sprinkling some salt on the top and bottom, and leaving it to dry in the fridge overnight.
Cook it the next day by putting it in the oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. “We’re gonna bring that down to 300, leave it in there for three hours then on the last thirty minutes of the three hours, we’re gonna bring it back up to 500,” he explained in his YouTube vlog in December 2018.
While the meat is in the oven, start working on the pineapple sauce. If you’re using the fruit, cut it into small pieces, and mash it using a blender. Put the mixture into a pot and boai it. Add rice vinegar and soy sauce “to add that umami flavor,” the chef said. Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar, then leave it until it boils and thickens.
Next, take the pork slab out of the oven and let it rest for five minutes. Cap it off by slicing it into strips then pouring the pineapple glaze over it.
Judy Ann Santos’ baked chicken pastel and fruit and nut cheeseball platter
Another dish to perk up your Christmas Eve is Judy Ann Santos’ creamy chicken pastel. It’s sumptuous, colorful, and festive, that’s why the Kapamilya actress says it’s perfect for Christmas parties (or intimate gatherings). She shared the recipe in her YouTube vlog in December 2018.
These are the ingredients that you’ll need: chicken thigh fillet and chicken breast cubes, chopped spam, red bell pepper, potatoes, green peas, mushrooms, Ricotta, onions (finely chopped), baby carrots, cooking cream, half stick of unsalted butter, 1 can of cream of chicken or mushroom soup, sugar, and puff pastry.
The list may be long, but the actress says the dish itself is easy to prepare. All you need is to 1) melt the butter on the pan and, 2) saute the onions, chicken, chorizo, and all other ingredients. You may add butter, salt, and pepper to add more taste.
Lastly, put it in an oven-safe container, cover it with puff pastry, then bake for 15 minutes.
Next on the menu is Judy Ann’s fruit and nut cheeseball platter, which she described as “isang malaking bola lang siya ng cream cheese, lalagyan lang natin ng maraming texture sa loob nito.” It eaten as a dip for biscuits or pretzels.
“You’ll be surprised kung gaano kadali ito. Kelangan lang malakas ang arms mo kung wala kang mixer,” she added.
Start by gathering the following ingredients: one and a half bar of cream cheese, nuts (pistachios, pine nuts, or any that you prefer), dried fruits (like mango or cranberry), raisins, and cheddar and sharp cheese.
After preparing all the ingredients, proceed to create the cheeseball:
- Roast the nuts in a frying pan with oil. While you’re waiting for it to toast, mix all the cheeses in one big bowl. Make sure that the cream cheese is well mashed.
- Add the spring onions, dried fruits, and raisins and continue mixing. “Make sure na properly incorporated lahat ng ingredients kasi gusto mo iyong guests, pagkuha nila ng cheese, nakukuha nila a little bit of everything,” the actress remarked.
- Add the roasted nuts, then form the mixture into a ball using another big bowl.
- Chill overnight, then serve the following day with pretzels or biscuits on the side.
Nadia Montenegro’s Baked Lasagna
This Christmas, cook your family a dish beyond the usual spaghetti with a cheesy baked lasagna.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need, according to Nadia Montenegro’s YouTube vlog in July 2019: half a kilo of ground beef, two cups of tomato sauce, crushed garlic, onions, salt and pepper, 16 to 18 lasagna sheets (half-cooked), oil, butter, cream, flour, water, and grated cheeses: Gouda, cheddar, mozzarella, and easy melt.
“Dalawa ang ating lulutuin,” Nadya explains. “Una ‘yung tomato sauce natin with our beef and our Béchamel white sauce na nilalagay natin sa taas [ng pasta] kaya nagiging creamy ang ating lasagna.”
Begin by making the beef tomato sauce:
1. Pour 1/3 cup of cooking oil on your pan. “And then let’s put our garlic, and then our onions, kapag translucent na po ang ating onions, that’s when we add our beef,” Nadya said.
2. Pour two cups of tomato sauce on your cooked ground beef. “Add a little salt and pepper. So this is our base for our lasagna,” she explained.
Nadya continued, “So while we are waiting for it to simmer down, kumapal siya, we will do now our Bechamel sauce.”
Here’s how: 1) Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in your frying pan. Once melted, add three teaspoons of flour to it. 2) Add cream, salt, pepper, add the four kinds of cheese. Then proceed to beat the mixture using your whisk.
Once done, proceed to arrange the pasta. Nadya will show you how here:
Erwan Heussaff’s Suman
For many Pinoy families, Christmas isn’t complete with their favorite sticky rice or kakanin. Sweeten up your family’s Noche Buena by serving them suman with mango that you can easily do at home. Erwan shares how in his YouTube vlog in December 2018.
You will need the following: sticky rice, coconut cream, sugar, banana leaves cut into squares, mango slices, pinipig or rice crispies.
Here’s how to get started:
- Soak sticky rice in water and leave it overnight.
- Create the suman the following day by putting fresh coconut cream in a pan, add sugar, then mix until dissolved.
- Add one-half cup of the sticky rice. “Now all we’re gonna do is cook this. Bring it into a gentle simmer and from time to time, check it and move it around. Make sure that’s nothing sticking to the bottom,” Erwan said.
- Next, get a banana leaf, put some tablespoons into that, wait for it to cool down, then roll the banana leaf. Place the wrapped rice in a steamer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the suman from the banana leaf, add slices of mango and pinipig, and serve.