Food represents culture, and its significance is deeply rooted in the people’s heritage and way of living. And more often than not, these dishes are heavily influenced by another culture that a nation, like the Philippines, have interacted with in the past.
And that is precisely what we are going to share with you in this article. A dish that’s heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine, not just by the name, but because of how festive the ingredients are. Many Filipinos, mainly cooks who are just beginning their culinary journey, find this dish a bit complicated to cook; that’s precisely why we are here.
We want to share with you all the necessary information you need to know in cooking the Best Morcon, that you and your loved ones will surely love. And give you that needed boost of confidence, especially when cooking traditional culinary dishes.
What is Great Morcon
Morcon is a very festive dish often served on special celebrations such as weddings and holidays like Christmas. One look at this meat roll, and one cannot merely resist its charm. One may even remember the days gone by when families get together on special days to feast on traditional Filipino dishes such as this.
Usually made from beef flanks marinated in condiments and seasonings, this festive meat roll is then stuffed with fillings’ assortments. Minced carrots, cucumbers, hotdogs (or sausages, if the cook is feeling a bit generous) are the usual ingredients of choice.
The sauce that can be added to this meat roll is always up to your preference as there a lot of sauce combinations to choose from. You can follow the recipe for the sauce that we have, highlighting the taste of the Morcon, or you can also resort to a more traditional sauce made from tomato sauce simmered with aromatics.
The name morcon, as we can already infer, is a Spanish word that came from a specific type of Spanish dry sausage traditionally used for stuffing the original recipe. There are times that people might get confused by this meat roll with another Filipino festive dish, the Embutido, which is a type of Filipino meatloaf made from ground pork.
Ways to Cook
This featured recipe is a traditional Filipino celebratory dish, often served during celebrations like feasts, weddings, and holidays like Christmas. And for that reason, cooking them is more traditional since big batches of Morcon are being cooked at a given time.
But for a more casual family dinner, there are more convenient and quicker ways of cooking this dish with the help of modern cooking equipment and the usual kitchen wares you have at home. We did list down some other cooking methods that you may resort to in cooking Morcon at home.
If you want to be more specific, a Slow cooker or crockpot utilizes the principle of cooking using slow and steady heat. This way, the food cooks slowly, while the flavors are drawing out from the ingredients and concentrates into the mixture. The low temperature also prevents the loss of vast amounts of nutrients from the components.
There are usually three settings available for the slow cooker: high, low, and warm. Each function is set for different kinds of meats and dishes like soups and chowders. And the upside of using this cookware is that it is energy-efficient compared to other modern cookware.
For cooking Morcon using a slow cooker, the process is the same as indicated in the recipe. Make sure to have the beef cuts marinated beforehand to ensure that the flavors have seeped in already into the meat fibers. Then proceed with the rest of the cooking steps in stuffing or wrapping the fillings.
Once the Morcon mixture is secured and appropriately twined, that’s the time to cook it in the slow cooker in a high setting. Include the sauce into the pot to allow the Morcon to tenderize in its sauce: this way, the flavors will be locked into the meat roll. Then leave the slow cooker and let it do its magic.
Electric or LPG-fueled, it doesn’t matter that much because we all know that the stovetop is our mom’s go-to partner in the kitchen. There’s no need for fancy buttons or settings. The plain, old dial for the temperature and a trusted cooking pot (or pan) will do the trick for any kind of dish.
On that note, cooking Morcon using the stovetop is not far from reality. You can use whatever cooking pan or cooking pot you may have in your kitchen. If you have a cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan, then that’s better.
Make sure to have your beef marinated at least an hour before you cook the recipe. Then proceed with the steps as the recipe is instructing: follow the steps religiously, and we assure you that nothing will go wrong when cooking this lovely dish.
Ensure that the cooking pan used can hold the high temperature to prevent the meat roll from sticking into the pan while cooking. Fry the meat roll, then add in the sauce once the sauce is reduced and the Morcon is tender. Simmer the dish for five minutes more to ensure that the meat is cooked adequately.
Steaming food is an age-old cooking method that’s still being used by many countries, especially Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam, China, and the Philippines. Many traditional recipes and delicacies from these countries use steamers to cook them. This ranges from rice cakes to meat dishes, such as Morcon, our featured recipe for the day.
There are a few good benefits worth mentioning about the steamer, and one thing is that it keeps the moisture of the food. Another advantage is that it prevents the shrinkage of whatever food you’re cooking.
Marinate the beef cuts for an hour to lock in the flavors before wrapping the stuffings into the meat roll. Then secure the meat roll using kitchen twine: you can also pre-fry the Morcon for about a minute or two, just until the meat changes color. For the steamer, fill the bottom pan with water and boil before putting the top racks containing the Morcon.
You can add aromatics like bay leaves, garlic, and pepper to the bottom pan, containing the water. This is to add flavors and aroma to the steam, which goes into the meat roll.
Other Delicious Variants and Recipes of Morcon
As we have shared with you, Morcon is a traditional Filipino dish. With that said, there are many variants to choose from and learn, depending on the province or region this particular variant comes from. Some variants use different protein sources, or there might be additional ingredients, making the recipe even more festive.
To give you some ideas and a headstart, we have a list of variants you can try at home. You might even be able to come up with your very own variant.
The most common protein used for Morcon is beef because the said meat is leaner and more tender. And the fact that beef is the meat of choice gives the diners the idea that the dish is festive and celebratory. But we all know that beef is more expensive than the rest of the proteins that we can buy from the market.
On that note, pork is the next best protein that we can use to cook Morcon. Compared to beef, Pork contains more fat, which makes it more flavorful in terms of having more unsaturated fat contents. And to top that, pork is undeniably cheaper than beef.
For the Morcon recipe, the process does not deviate much from the original. The only thing you need to do to tenderize the pork meat faster is to pound the meat using a meat mallet lightly. This breaks down the pork’s fiber and fat content, making it more tender and faster to cook. Choose pork loin for this recipe.
Marinate the loin for at least an hour in soy sauce, lemon, pepper, and aromatics. Then stuff the marinated meat with the rest of the ingredients and secure it with kitchen twine. Then follow the rest of the steps for cooking the recipe.
With Garlic Fried Rice and Eggs
Morcon is essentially a meat roll, and for us Filipinos, a dining experience will never be complete without rice. And for a savory and festive dish such as this one, what’s a more fitting compliment than a plate of newly cooked Garlic Fried Rice and eggs.
The flavorful and aromatic fried rice goes well with the meaty taste of the Morcon, and the slight saltiness of the meat dish is balanced by the richness of the rice brought about by the addition of eggs into the fried rice.
For the Morcon, simply follow our recipe, and you’re good to go. We recommend that you use leftover rice for the fried rice for fluffier results, which prevents the rice from sticking to the pan. Saute your finely chopped garlic, then add in the beaten eggs until they are half-cooked. Once the eggs change consistency, mix in the rice and add the seasonings.
Keep on stirring and flipping the rice over to prevent it from forming a crust at the bottom. Once the rice is cooked, scoop them out and serve them on a plate with the Morcon slices.
This variant of Morcon is different from the one that we are familiar with. It is no surprise since this variant is coming from the province hailed as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, Pampanga. The appearance might be similar to embutido, but this variant is different when it comes to flavors.
The mixture for the Kapampangan style of Morcon is exquisite and grand: the ingredients needed for this variant are ground pork, ground beef, chorizo, eggs, raisins, and cheese. This part is where it makes the distinction from the usual embutido or morcon that we know: the mixture is wrapped in pig’s caul fat ( this is the thin membrane that surrounds the internal organs of pigs).
The Morcon is then steamed or simmered until it is adequately cooked: the fat drippings when the mixture is steamed is usually collected in a bowl and then poured over to the meat roll slices when serving the dish. Fried garlic can also be used as toppings to complement the savory dish.
Morcon, since colonial times, is one of the stars of the kitchen table during the Christmas season. And beef, which is the main ingredient of this dish, is high in protein needed for muscle and tissue buildup. And compared to other proteins, beef contains a lesser amount of fat.
We want you to be the best cook that you can be, and specifically in cooking Morcon. We know that this might be complicated for you at first, but no worries, because we got you covered. We have here tips that can help you nail this recipe hassle-free.
- If you want to tenderize the meat faster, before marinating lightly pound the beef cuts using a meat mallet. Make sure to cover the meat first with cling wrap to avoid wounding the beef.
- To add more flavors to the marinade, add oyster sauce to it. This will provide a hint of sweetness to the meat.
If you’re cooking this delightful recipe for the first time, chances are you might encounter some troubles. So we also included proven troubleshooting steps that will help you remedy that cooking dilemma of yours.
- If the Morcon takes some time to tenderize than expected, set the dial or button of whatever cookware you’re using, add more sauce to immerse the meat roll and keep simmering for about fifteen more minutes.
- Add about a tablespoon of sugar if the sauce is bland or if it tastes too acidic.
Best Serve With
The good thing about festive dishes is that they are best enjoyed with other dishes, making the dining experience a lot better. And for that reason, we also made a list of dishes that you can enjoy Morcon with.
Everything goes well with rice, right? And to make that even more fitting, why not partner our meat roll with a bowl of equally flavorful rice. The aromatics brought by the taco seasonings make this rice dish a perfect canvass for Morcon.
Savory and flavorful dishes can sometimes give you that “fed up” feeling. And the only way to remove that feeling is to eat something that will balance the rich taste of dishes. That is a problem that Atchara can handle. The sweet and sour taste of this pickled papaya recipe cleanses your palate of that fed up feeling.
What’s a more fitting dish to complement the festive mood of Morcon than an equally festive dish like Bringhe. This particular rice dish is a meal in itself already, but the meaty goodness of our featured dish is hard to resist. Their taste and goodness complement each other.
Complicated dishes like Morcon can sometimes pose a challenge for cooks. But with the right information for the techniques to cook them makes the cooking process more manageable. And that’s what we’re after, to make cooking an enjoyable journey for you.
And we hope that with all the information and tips that we have shared with you, you are more than confident to cook this traditional meaty recipe for you. A dish that will make you proud of your culture and heritage as a Filipino.
So until next time, happy cooking!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
- Cooking string
- 2 lbs Beef sliced
- 3 cups Beef stock
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 pc Lemon
- 1/2 cup Soy sauce
- 1 pc Medium carrot cut into long strips
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 1/2 cup Cooking oil
- 4 pcs Hotdog cut into half lengthwise
- 2 pcs Whole pickle quartered
- 1 pc Cheese cut into strips about 1/2 inch
- 3 pcs Hard-boiled egg sliced
- Marinate the beef in soy sauce and lemon juice for at least 1 hour.
- Place the beef in a flat surface and arrange the hotdogs, pickle, carrot, cheese, and egg on one side.
- Roll the beef enclosing the fillings and tie with a cooking string to ensure that the meat will not open-up.
- Place cooking oil in a pan and apply heat.
- Dredge the rolled beef in flour and fry until the color of the outer part turns medium brown.
- Transfer the fried rolled beef in a casserole and pour-in the beef stock then bring to a boil.
- Pour-in half of the soy sauce-lemon juice marinade,salt and simmer until the beef is tender (about 2 hours using ordinary casserole or 30 minutes if a pressure cooker is used).
- Optional: Fry the simmered meat for at least 2 minutes.
- Remove the strings and slice into serving pieces.
- Place in a serving dish and add the sauce.
- Serve while hot. Share and enjoy!