Look at breakfast, how festive it is
For sure you’re going to like this
Meat and peas – no pressure
Of course, a few eggs for good measure
Alas we have a meal we can’t miss!

For this month’s edition of that non-event event – the End of Month Egg on Toast Extravaganza (EoMEoTE) – which Jeanne at Cook Sister is so graciously hosting, I tried to let the rhyming flow – to the detriment of the genre, as you can see.

The dish is very simple, it can be whipped up in the most rudimentary of kitchens. The ingredients are also available all year round in almost any marketplace. It makes me wonder why in our household, we only have it once a year, on our town fiesta. Other families in town seem also to associate it with special breakfast occasions.

My mom says she remembers my grandmother cooking this on early fiesta mornings to serve guests who drop in for breakfast, usually coming from other towns to hear early Mass. Other more elaborate dishes would be for later in the day.

At home, it is only on the feast of Santa Rita, not even on Christmas or any other occasion that we cook Pisto. Then it is eaten with special pandesal (contraction of pan de sal, literally bread of salt in Spanish), a bread the size of dinner rolls but crustier. Pandesal is the Filipino everyday bread but the special kind, a bit more dense and flavourful, was baked only on special occasions like Christmas and the town fiesta.

I can imagine that centuries ago, when conditions were different, when imported food supplies (such as wieners and green peas) came in only at certain times of the year, they were used more sparingly. With the improved transportation and trade, this has been changed but the memories that grew out of the past situations are still indelibly printed in the heart.

Pisto/Pistou

1/2 kg. finely ground pork
1 or 2 pcs. chorizo de Bilbao, crumbled
1/4 kg. wieners, diced
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 capsicum/bell peppers, finely chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 head garlic, finely crushed
2 medium onions, finely sliced
2 tbsp. cooking oil (lard is best)
bay leaf
oregano
salt to taste

Heat oil in a wok or pan. Fry garlic till golden brown then caramelise onions. Brown the ground pork and chorizo while seasoning with the herbs and salt. Add the capsicum, then pour the tomato sauce and let simmer for 10-20 minutes, adding small amounts of water if it gets too dry. When the pork is tender, add the sausages then the green peas. As soon as the green peas are soft enough, add eggs and stir to combine properly. Turn off heat and cover for five minutes or so.

Serve with toast and fresh vegetables.

For an egg-cellent ideas, see Jeanne’s round-up. Click now and you’ll see what a wonderful hostess she is!

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