Dancing with all the right gracenotes of sweet, cheesy and savory, the Hardinera is one Filipino recipe that can liven up any gathering. This traditional meatloaf is lovingly suited to the local palate. And because of this, it is a dish you might often see during the holidays, and other special occasions. And deservedly so, as the ingredients, themselves, seem to be a celebration of wild, varied flavors.
Pork, serving as the main protein source of the dish, is enriched by the strong flavors of beef broth and thick tomato sauce. And the meatloaf is invigorated by the rich textures and tastes of liver spread, breadcrumbs, hotdogs, pineapple and an abundance of other ingredients. You might be thinking– just how well do these very different ingredients fare together? But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! This combination of delicious ingredients actually work incredibly well. This is because you have the best of each contributing component’s sweetness, saltiness or tanginess.
Now where did this unique feast of a dish actually originate?
Where did the tasty Hardinera come from?
Our dish is one of great popularity all over the Philippines. But residents of a municipality in Quezon– Lucban– love it especially. Coming from the place best known for its savory longganisa and pancit, the Hardinera is actually one of the locals’ favorites among the many popular recipes Lucban has dished out.
Perhaps the love for it originates from how unapologetically Filipino it is as a meatloaf. It is even placed in a Llanera. You might have seen this oval-shaped pan with your leche flan before. But it can also house an appetizingly savory dish with Hardinera.
You can also translate the name to “female gardener” in Filipino. This is likely due to its colorful and creative share of local ingredients. However, with the mention of Filipino meatloaf, you might be thinking of a seemingly very similar recipe.
What is the difference between Embutido and Hardinera?
People often ask this because of the unmistakable similarities in their taste. Both have loving tones of sweetness and complementary saltiness for a flavorful, and pleasantly firm meatloaf. But Hardinera still manages to taste different. This is partially because of its usage of diced pork, instead of ground meat, which Embutido uses. And while we enclose the latter dish in some aluminum foil, as mentioned earlier, the Hardinera rests in a flat Llanera.
One other distinction that can’t be forgotten is its method of being cooked. We pre-cook Hardinera in tomato sauce and beef broth prior to steaming. Meanwhile, you steam Embutido raw.
Now if we’ve piqued your interest enough to have a go at this distinctly rich meatloaf, keep reading for the recipe!
Learn how to make an excitingly savory plate of Hardinera:
Let’s start by heating our 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a pot. Then grab 3 cloves of minced garlic, as well as 1 chopped onion so we can begin sautéing them. Continue to do this until the onion has softened, then proceed to add 1 ½ lbs. of diced pork shoulder. Sauté your pork until its exterior becomes a nice shade of light brown.
This should be about the time for you to pour 1 ½ cups of beef broth, as well as 8 ounces of tomato sauce into your pot. Give this some time to boil, and once it has started boiling, adjust your heat to low. Proceed to cover your pot to let this cook smoothly. Continue doing this until the pork has become deliciously tender. Then you can take the cover off, and wait for the liquid to evaporate entirely. Also, let your pot cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Let’s add our abundance of ingredients to build the Hardinera’s taste:
Now we will be mixing in a world of vibrant flavors into our pot. Add 3 tablespoons of sweet pickle relish, 2 chopped up hotdogs, 4 tablespoons of raisins, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper. We will also be integrating ½ cup of pineapple chunks, 1 roasted bell pepper that has been sliced up into thin pieces, ¼ cup of liver spread, ¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup of breadcrumbs, and 2 beaten eggs.
The order of adding does not matter, as what is important is that we have all of these ingredients to make up our desired taste and texture. Also make sure to mix your assortment of ingredients thoroughly, and to distribute it evenly.
Whip out your Llanera so we can start arranging our Hardinera:
We will now be utilizing a Llanera or an 8-inch round baking pan, traditionally where you would find a good serving of Hardinera. Grease this evenly, and start arranging your 2 sliced hard boiled eggs, as well as 1 piece of roasted bell pepper that has been sliced into strips.
And then grab your mixture from earlier, and spread it all across the Llanera with our eggs and bell pepper strips. Using aluminum foil, seal this baking pan, and get ready to steam. Pour 5 to 8 cups of water in a steaming pot, and wait for this to boil. Then steam your baking pan for 1 hour.
Now we are practically ready to chow down on this tender, colorful Filipino meatloaf! Of course, we simply have to let it cool before we can put it on our serving plate. Then you are good to go!
Questions or inquiries about this Hardinera recipe? Let us know through the comment section below!
- 1 steamer
- 1 ½ lbs. pork shoulder diced
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 piece onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 hard boiled eggs sliced
- 1 roasted bell pepper sliced into strips
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 hotdogs chopped
- 4 tablespoons raisins
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup pineapple chunks
- 1 piece roasted bell pepper sliced into thin pieces
- ¼ cup liver spread
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese shredded
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs beaten
- Heat cooking oil and then saute onion and garlic.
- Once the onion softens, add pork. Saute until the color of the outside part of the meat turns light brown.
- Pour beef broth and tomato sauce into the pot. Let it boil. Adjust heat to low. Cover the pot and continue cooking until the pork gets tender. Remove cover and let the liquid evaporate completely. Let it cool down for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Combine the cooked pork with additional ingredients. Mix all together until well distributed.
- Grease an 8-inch round baking pan (or Llanera) and then arrange the sliced eggs and roasted sweet pepper. Transfer the mixture by spreading it over the eggs and bell pepper. Seal the baking pan by covering with an aluminum foil.
- Boil 5 to 8 cups of water in a steaming pot. Steam for 1 hour.
- Let it cool down before transferring to a serving plate. Enjoy!