Pork pata, that humble part of the pig has always been a favorite cut for me. I’ve grown up on my mom’s pork pata paksiw and pork pata nilaga with that rich, savory broth. One of the more underrated cuts, pork pata, when prepared well makes for a rustic, flavorful dish.
I was researching recipes for chick peas (garbanzos) when I came across this Puerto Rican dish, Patitas de Cerdo con Garbanzos. Patitas is technically pork feet (pig trotters) as opposed to our pata, that is mainly pork leg. It’s interesting how similar Puerto Rican dishes are to Filipino ones, it’s the Spanish influence that runs a culinary thread though our cultures. And this is how I knew the Patitas de Cerdo recipe will apply beautifully to pata as well.
After some tweaks, here is the recipe that I have come up with. The resulting dish was rich, gooey, and hearty. Puerto Ricans serve this with tostones (fried green plantain bananas), my Pinoy roots compel me to devour this with rice.
4-6 pieces sliced pork pata (pork leg/feet)
handful of salt
6-8 cups water
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 medium red onion cut into chunks
1 whole head garlic, roughly chopped
1 pork bouillon (optional)
2 cans chick peas or garbanzos, drained
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup diced stewed tomatoes
1 cup whole stewed tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, roasted and skin peeled off, diced
1 large potato skin on, cubed
a few fresh basil leaves, torn
Wash the pata slices well under running water. Drain, then rub a handful of salt all over the skin to clean thoroughly. Rinse well and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat up some olive oil in a pot and sear the pata slices on all sides until just browned. Add onions, garlic and 6-8 glasses of water to cover the pata. Let this come to a brisk boil, then set the heat to low and let simmer until the pata is tender, about 1.5 hours.
Meanwhile, roast the bell pepper over stove flame, using tongs. Once the skin is blackened all over, remove pepper from the fire and put in a covered bowl. Let it steam for a bit. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and wash off the rest of the black bits. Dice the roasted bell pepper, set aside.
When the pata is tender, add in the pork bouillon, salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Put in the potatoes. Add in the tomato paste and stir to mix. Pour in the diced and whole tomatoes and the roasted bell pepper. Let this simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Check that the potatoes are cooked. Add in the two cans of chick peas. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes more, careful not to over-stir to keep the garbanzos whole.
Turn off the heat and toss in the torn basil leaves, stirring to incorporate. Transfer to a large serving bowl, spooning the chick peas over the pata slices. Drizzle some olive oil over the dish right before serving.