Elite Recipes: Chef Gene Gonzalez’ Culinary Gems from Old Pampanga

It was Chef Gene Gonzalez’ turn at The Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite Series when he presented recipes near and dear to him.

Chef Gene prepared Adobo del Diablo (Capampangan Adobo) with a deep bronze produced by constant simmering and deglazing of the pan with stock when a crust is formed; Menudo Sulipeña (Oxtail Stew), slow simmered dish of oxtail, ham and Chorizo Bilbao with a dash of brandy; Pato Al Caparas (Duck with Capers) is simmered and braised duck with ham, liver and capers; Pasta Juan, chewy and buttery coconut bars; and Princess Cake, layers of freshly baked butter cake iced with buttercream with peach and strawberry puree and a ‘secret’ dose of Cointreau and coffee.

The chef who is among the country’s culinary powerhouses owns the iconic Café Ysabel, runs Buenisimo with his son Chef Gino, is the founder and chef instructor of culinary school Asian Culinary Studies, a TV personality and author of numerous cookbooks.

Here he so generously shared the recipes of his beloved dishes.

Capampangan Adobo / Adobo del Diablo
The Capampangan Adobo is a deep bronze and is produced by constant simmering and deglazing of the pan with stock when a crust is formed. This tasty caramelized stock is brought back to the meats to give the deep reddish brown hue.


Other areas would simply darken their adobo with soy sauce which is a crime in the Capampangan household. In fact, the Sulipan barrio will talk and gossip about the bad homemaker that puts soy sauce in her adobo and pity the hardworking provider of the house.

Menudo Sulipeña (Oxtail Stew)
Menudo or “little stew” refers to a common, everyday dish of slow-simmered bits of a variety of meats, such as tripe (in Mexican menudo), or ground or cubed pork mixed with potatoes. In Pampanga, common menudo is never complete without tidbits of liver or heart. Menudo Sulipeña however, is an oxtail stew or braise decadent enough to grace a banquet. The dish reflects the extravagance of that time though it carries the “humble” name, menudo.


Purchase the oxtail from a reputable dealer because strong, undesirable odors are often present in improperly cleaned or processed oxtails.

Pasta Juan
Suprisingly, the recipe uses grated coconut which was considered proletarian fare at that time. But these chewy buttery bars will give even the person looking forward to the 21st century, an unfading appreciation of the past.


Pato al Caparas (Duck with Capers)
This dish is prepared by simmering and braising the meat for a long time with country-style ingredients, such as ham, liver and capers, to accentuate the flavor of the meat. The recipe is applicable to all types of game birds, boar, venison and rabbit. It is a classic rich stew well enjoyed at that time with a robust Spanish or French red wine or sweet Sauterne.


Princess Cake
No other cake in Sulipan was more decadent and richly sensual than the Princess Cake. This delightful torte with French overtones was one of the highlights of the Sulipan banquet. Layers of freshly baked butter cake were iced with buttercream made luscious with peach and strawberry puree and a “secret” dose of cointreau and coffee. One needs only to sample a small slice to know it is truly worth its title. Be sure to use butter and not margarine.


For more information, log on to www.themayakitchen.com or e-mail [email protected].

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  1. Pingback: Pasta Juan | The Maya Kitchen

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