Rellenong Manok— A Noche Buena Tradition

What turkey is to Americans, the rellenong manok is to Filipinos. It holds an esteemed place on the Noche Buena feast. A few friends of mine have their own versions, proud of the heavily-guarded family recipe passed on from generation to generation. Hand-written by their lolas from time past, lovingly passed on to a favorite child or apo.

Rellenong manok comes from the Spanish verb “rellenar”, meaning to fill in or to stuff. This recipe is special, packed with the distinct flavour of paprika lent by the rich-tasting Spanish chorizo. It is a fairly simple recipe with easy-to-follow steps: mix, stuff and bake. The only challenge is deboning the chicken. Then again, you can find some chicken stations that offer deboned chicken—hassle free!

While some recipes suggest gravy, I personally recommend tomato-sauce simmered with roast chicken juices. Leftovers make great palaman (filling) for hot pandesal. Then again, there might not be any left.

Maligayang Pasko!

Picture6 Rellenong Manok— A Noche Buena Tradition

  • 1.5 k whole chicken, deboned
  • ½ kilo lean ground pork
  • 4 pcs chorizo, cut into small cubes
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper (1/2 chopped, the other half into strips)
  • 1 can green peas
  • ½ T Spanish paprika
  • 2 T pickle relish
  • 2 slices of bread torn into pinch size pieces, moistened and mashed with water or broth
  • Chicken meat from the bones (Boil the bones removed from the chicken)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 hard boiled eggs

In moderate heat, sauté the chorizo in a little oil until some fat is rendered. Toss in the chopped garlic, onion and red bell pepper. Add the ground pork and cook  till the pink color is gone. Season with paprika, salt and pepper, add the green peas and pickle relish. Turn off the heat when the meat is cooked. (Be careful not to overcook and dry it out.)* Other recipes will include raisins and vienna sausage. I personally prefer the paprika punch of the spanish chorizo. You may include 1/4 c raisins if you like.

Put meat mixture in a bowl and let it cool.

Add mashed bread and egg (these are the binders) and the chicken flakes taken from the bones. Finally stuff  the chicken with meat mixture, then the hard boiled eggs, put in the red bell pepper strips which will in turn provide sort of a pattern when sliced to serve.

Sew the opening up and put in the oven or turbo broiler. It takes about 45 minutes. Since the stuffing is cooked and the chicken is deboned, this takes a relatively short time to cook. When done, let it rest a bit so that the yummy meat juices don’t and slicing will not be messy when it’s time to eat.

Serve it on a bed of fluffy rice, so that it will catch the juices of the stuffing and the chicken. Some recipes feature gravy as the sauce. I’d like to serve this with homemade tomato sauce, instead.

Picture5 Rellenong Manok— A Noche Buena Tradition

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/3 c finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 c finely chopped carrots
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • juices and oil of the rellenong manok
  • about 2 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Using 1 T oil, preferably olive oil, saute onions, celery and carrots. After 3 minutes, add the diced tomatoes, the juices and oils of the rellenong manok, add sugar,salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.  You may want to put it in the blender for a smoother, velvety finish. Or put only half in the blender to leave some chunky bits.


 Rellenong Manok— A Noche Buena Tradition

© 2011, Kitchen Kitchie Koo. All rights reserved.

  • One of my favorite foods ever. Everybody loves chicken!

  • Aida Santos

    Will you feature step-by-step procedure on how to debone a chicken to cook Chicken Relleno?

  • Does anyone have a video of how to debone a whole chicken? I’d like to surprise my wife with this recipe.

  • rondel yanis

    i really wanted to try this rellenong manok,i just dont know how to debone the whiloe chicken,
    can somebody tell me how pls,tnx