My Green Beans Guisado with Pork Bagnet happened when I sautéed vegetables and I knew the crisp, pork chunks would be a great addition. The Ilocano bagnet came to mind because on February 29th, our family and Filipinos remember the late Philippine President Elpidio Quirino whose death anniversary we commemorate on this day. Quirino was the 6th president of the Philippines. His term from 1948 to 1953 was marked by post-World War II gains which had long lasting robust effects for generations.
A favorite Quirino family dish is the Ilocano Bagnet. It is the Ilocos version of Lechon Kawali. It is a large pork slab, cooked till one gets crisp, crackling pork pieces. In my article about holiday dishes, which published on Positively Filipino, I mentioned how my father in law, Dr. Constante D. Quirino enjoyed pork bagnet dipped in bagoong alamang (fermented fish sauce) with a sprinkling of calamansi.
We had pork bagnet when we visited Ilocos Sur, a province in the Philippines north of Manila on a recent trip. The word “bagnet” comes from the term ‘bagnenettin’ which is Ilocano for ‘to preserve without refrigeration’. In many parts of the Philippines, refrigeration of food was not common in the early days of our grandparents. So, Filipinos found ways of preserving foods.
Today, in my American kitchen, I cooked these crunchy pork cubes and added it to the sautéed green beans. The crunchy cubes gave me a head rush as I bit into each one.
Our aunt, Attorney Aleli G. Quirino told me about favorite dishes of the elder Quirinos –President Quirino and his brothers Ernesto, Eliseo,Antonio and sister Rosa. Tita Lila said most Ilocano dishes are eaten with the “proverbial KBL” – colloquial term for ‘kamatis’ (tomatoes), bagoong (shrimp or fish paste), lasona (onions). This is the Ilocano version of a side salsa. Sometimes we add chopped fresh green mangoes, not yet fully ripe, but with enough tartness for the side dish.
For today, our Quirino family celebrates. And I thought it fitting to sauté fresh green beans topped with the classic Ilocano pork bagnet. It was a great, homespun meal to honor our family hero—Lolo Elpidio Quirino.
Green Beans Guisado with Pork Bagnet
- Large stockpot or Dutch Oven: 8 to 10 quarts
- Large Skillet or Wok: 12 inches in diameter
For the Pork Bagnet
- 2 pounds a whole slab of pork belly
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil divided; 2 Tablespoons for vegetable saute; rest for deep frying
For the Green Beans saute:
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 whole onion sliced
- 1 Tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
- 1 cup pork broth reserved liquid from boiling the pork
- 500 gm. (half a pound) green beans washed; edges trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- steamed rice
To cook the Pork Bagnet
- Place the whole slab of pork belly in a deep stockpot or Dutch oven. Fill with enough water to cover the pork. Add salt and black pepper to the the meat and liquid.Over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a boil. When the liquid boils, lower heat to a simmer. Cook this amount of pork for 1 hour till meat is tender and completely cooked. There should be no pink parts visible.
- When the boiled pork is cooked, reserve 1 cup of the broth. Drain and discard the rest of the liquid. Transfer the pork to a baking rack. Allow to air dry for 1 hour. The more dry the pork, the more crisp it will get when deep-frying.
- To deep fry the pork: Chop the pork into bite-sized pieces, about 1-inch cubes. Over medium-high heat, add oil in a large skillet or wok. The oil should be hot enough in about 3 minutes. If using a thermometer, oil should be 350 F.Deep fry the pork pieces in the oil till the pork skin looks golden brown and has blisters. Cook the pieces for about 5 minutes till crisp.When pork is cooked, drain on parchment or paper towels to remove excess oil. Set aside and keep warm.
To saute the green beans:
- Discard the excess oil from the skillet or wok. Leave 2 Tablespoons oil for the saute.Over medium heat, saute the garlic and onions for 1 to 2 minutes. When onions are translucent, pour the patis (fish sauce) and broth.Add the green beans. Season with salt and pepper. Stir around the skillet. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes till green beans are soft.Return the cooked Pork Bagnet to the green beans saute. Stir ingredients to get incorporated.While pork is crisp, serve warm with steamed rice.
- Instead of patis (fish sauce), I have substituted 1 Tablespoon of bagoong guisado (sauteed shrimp paste/bottled) to the saute. It was just as marvelous.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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