Can I Use Beef Blood for Dinuguan? Substituting Ingredients in This Filipino Dish

Dinuguan, also known as chocolate meat, is a savory Filipino stew made with pork meat and offal simmered in a rich, spicy sauce thickened with pork blood It’s a beloved comfort food in the Philippines, though some Westerners may be hesitant to try it due to the unconventional use of blood.

But what if you can’t find or don’t want to use pork blood? Can you substitute beef blood instead? Let’s explore how dinuguan is made, if beef blood works as a sub, and other possible ingredient swaps.

What is Dinuguan?

Dinuguan is considered a national dish in the Philippines. It consists of:

  • Pork meat – Often pork belly, shoulder, or butt
  • Pork offal – Liver, intestines, heart
  • Pork blood
  • Vinegar – Usually cane vinegar
  • Fish sauce
  • Chili peppers – Jalapeños or finger peppers
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Bay leaf

The pork meat, offal, and blood simmer together in a savory broth flavored by the vinegar, fish sauce, and spices. The blood coagulates into a thick, chocolate-colored gravy that gives dinuguan its signature rich texture and appearance.

This hearty, protein-rich stew is usually served over white rice. It’s a popular everyday meal, party dish, and post-celebration comfort food The use of offal and blood reflects making delicious use of the whole animal

Why Use Beef Blood Instead of Pork?

There are a few reasons you may want to use beef blood rather than pork for dinuguan:

  • Lack of pork blood – Fresh pork blood can be hard to find. Beef blood may be more readily available.

  • Don’t want to use pork – Some dinuguan recipes call for pork liver and intestines, which not all eaters enjoy. Subbing beef provides pork-free option.

  • Prefer beef flavor – While pork is traditional, some may prefer a beefier tasting stew.

  • Food allergies – People with pork allergies can usually tolerate beef.

  • Cost – Beef offal and blood are sometimes cheaper than pork varieties.

Using beef provides more flexibility in ingredients and accommodates different diets and tastes.

Is Beef Blood Interchangeable with Pork Blood?

Beef and pork blood are quite similar in composition, so beef blood can generally replace pork blood in equal amounts in dinuguan. The main considerations are:

  • Flavor – Beef blood has a slightly stronger mineral flavor than pork blood. The overall flavor of the dish may be slightly different.

  • Thickness – Pork blood tends to coagulate into a slightly thicker gravy. Beef blood gravy may turn out a bit more watery.

  • Color – Beef blood gives the sauce a very dark maroon color vs. the rich chocolate color of pork blood.

  • Fat content – Pork is fattier than beef, so pork dinuguan is richer-tasting.

The stew will still thicken and take on that signature gravy texture with beef blood. But the end result may look a little different and taste less fatty. Expect a darker, more beefy take on traditional pork dinuguan.

Tips for Using Beef Blood in Dinuguan

Follow these tips to make delicious beef dinuguan:

  • Use beef offal – For true beef flavor, opt for beef liver, tripe, or oxtail rather than pork.

  • Brown the beef – Browning adds richer flavor. Cook the beef in batches if needed to properly brown.

  • Use beef stock – Made from beef bones, stock adds even more beefy depth.

  • Add marrow bones – Roasted marrow bones provide body and beefy flavor to the broth.

  • Use beef blood – Substitute beef blood 1:1 for pork blood called for in recipes.

  • Add tomatoes – Sautéed tomatoes complement and brighten the beef.

  • Season boldly – Compensate for less fat by boosting flavor with salt, pepper, bay leaves, etc.

  • Simmer low and slow – Long, gentle simmering produces the richest, most tender beef.

With these tweaks, you can create an incredible beef version of the classic pork stew.

Alternative Thickeners if No Blood

Some dinuguan recipes call for thickening with starch instead of blood. If using blood is off the table, here are some substitutes:

  • Peanut butter – Whisk in 2-4 tablespoons for rich thickness.

  • Mashed potatoes – Mix in 1-2 cups of mashed russet or red potatoes.

  • Rice porridge – Stir in 1-2 cups of leftover rice porridge or congee.

  • Cornstarch slurry – Thicken with a slurry of 2 tablespoons cornstarch whisked into 2 tablespoons water.

  • Tapioca starch – Use 2 tablespoons tapioca starch or flour blended with water.

  • Gram or chickpea flour – Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of besan for thickness.

When using starchy thickeners, add them at the very end after turning off the heat to avoid breaking down the starches.

Can Other Meats be Used?

While pork and beef are traditional, you can experiment with other meats:

  • Chicken – Use chicken livers and gizzards along with chicken meat.

  • Turkey – Turkey wings or necks simmered provide delicious, gelatinous body.

  • Goat or lamb – Use fatty goat or lamb for a unique, gamier twist.

  • Game meats – Venison, bison, and elk offer lean, rich depth of flavor.

  • Duck – Duck wings, livers, and legs offer tasty fat and meat.

Adjust seasonings to complement the particular meat. Herbs like rosemary, sage, or marjoram pair well with red meats besides beef.

What Other Offal Can be Used?

Beyond liver and intestines, dinuguan can incorporate all sorts of pork, beef, or other animal offal. Consider:

  • Oxtails
  • Pig’s feet
  • Beef tendons or tripe
  • Pork hocks
  • Chicken giblets
  • Lamb or goat organs
  • Pork skin or ears
  • Beef kidneys or stomach

Brisket and oxtail provide lots of body, gelatin, and flavor to the stew. Offal imparts more nutrients than plain muscle meat. Experiment to see which variety your palate prefers.

Final Tips for Delicious Dinuguan

  • Use fresh blood if possible for best texture and flavor.
  • Add vinegar to fresh blood right away to prevent clotting before cooking.
  • Cook the offal first before adding the meat to soften it.
  • Simmer gently 2-3 hours to let flavors develop fully.
  • Adjust seasoning after tasting the finished stew.
  • Garnish with onion, scallion, chili, or lime.
  • Enjoy with steamed rice or pandesal bread.

With these tips, you can whip up an amazing Filipino-inspired beef and blood stew flavored any way you like. Dinuguan is all about savoring the whole animal nose to tail. Don’t be afraid to try beef blood or play with different meats and offal. Enjoy this comforting, protein-packed stew your own way.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dinuguan

What does dinuguan taste like?

Dinuguan has a rich, meaty flavor balanced by a hint of tartness from the vinegar. The pork blood sauce is savory and lightly sweet with a smooth, thick texture. Spices add warmth and depth.

What cut of pork is best for dinuguan?

Pork shoulder or butt provides the right mix of fat, collagen, and flavor. Pork belly also works well. Avoid lean tenderloin, as it may dry out.

Can I use pig blood instead of pork blood?

Yes, pig blood can be used interchangeably with pork blood in dinuguan recipes. They come from the same animal.

Is dinuguan stew spicy?

It can be, depending on the type and amount of peppers used. Jalapeños offer mild heat. Finger chilies, Thai chilies, or cayenne pepper make it very spicy. Adjust heat to your taste.

What vinegar is best for dinuguan?

In the Philippines, dinuguan is usually made with inexpensive sugarcane vinegar, which provides mild acidity. Cider, white wine, or rice wine vinegar also work well.

Can I use turkey or chicken instead of pork?

You can, though the flavor will be much different than traditional pork dinuguan. Use darker poultry meat and adjust seasonings to complement the taste.

Can dinuguan be served without rice?

Yes, it can be enjoyed without rice if desired. Some other options are serving it with bread, mashed potatoes, or noodles instead.

How long does dinuguan keep in the fridge?

Properly stored in airtight containers, dinuguan will keep 3-4 days refrigerated. The sauce may thicken more upon storage.

Can dinuguan be frozen?

Definitely. Allow it to cool thoroughly first, then freeze in airtight containers up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating gently on the stovetop.

In Conclusion

While pork is traditional, beef blood makes a fine substitute in dinuguan stew. Adjustments to other ingredients like using beef offal instead of pork, browning the meat deeply, and boosting spices are needed to achieve the best flavor. Don’t be constrained by tradition – have fun trying different meats and offal. With a flavorful sauce seasoned to your tastes, you can create an incredible beef or other meat variation on this Filipino favorite.

My special dinuguan with beef blood!

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