Why It Works
- A food processor makes quick work of turning liver into a paste.
- Vinegar and sugar balance the sauce's flavor.
When I decided to do my mini-lechon, I wanted the full experience, which required the inclusion of a pork liver-based dipping sauce. This sauce is most recognized by its brand name, Mang Tomas, whose bottled version—"All-Purpose Sauce"—is based on an original creation by the lechon producer Mang Tomas de los Reyes in Quezon City in the Philippines.
I admit I'm not much of an offal eater, and while I'm starting to venture into this territory, pork liver has been one of the things I really do not care for. Unfortunately, this aversion manifested itself in the middle of cooking—after the onions and garlic were sautéed and the liver was added and simmering with brown sugar and vinegar. At this point, my mind decided the smell of the liver was something to be avoided at all costs rather than coveted as a savory treat.
Based on my visceral reaction just a day before, I thought I would end up having nothing to do with the sauce later, but a day removed and a plate of crispy pork can make all the difference.
I dipped my first piece of pork belly in and fully enjoyed the sweet and tangy start to the sauce that had a creamy, coating texture. There was a distinct liver flavor, especially with the aftertaste, but it didn't really get to me the way past pork liver has. Instead, it seemed like a fit pairing, especially when those porcine dips were alternated with another Filipino classic, spicy vinegar.
1/4 pound fresh pork liver
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 medium cloves)
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup bread crumbs
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place liver in the workbowl of a food processor. Pulse until chopped into a fine paste, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add in onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add liver paste and stir to combine. Add vinegar and sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. Stir in water and bring to a boil. Stir in bread crumbs, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Purée sauce with an immersion blender, or transfer to a regular blender, and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool and serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The sauce can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 3g||4%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||2%|
|Total Carbohydrate 7g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 3mg||15%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|