Spicy Beef Kaldereta
My special beef kaldereta recipe–chunks of stewing beef sauteed in olive oil with plenty of chopped garlic, onions and tomatoes then slow cooked in a little water until fork tender. The sauce is thereafter thickened with mashed cooked liver. Wedges of golden fried potatoes, bells peppers and olives are added just before cooking time is up. That didn’t sound complicated, did it? Kaldereta is not a difficult dish to cook. There are a few pointers to remember though. First is never to scrimp on the amount of chopped garlic, onions and tomatoes. Second is to add water little by little during the cooking to avoid thinning the sauce too much. Third is to use stewing beef, never loins or rounds, because the flavor of the sauce develops during the slow cooking.
Kaldereta is a classic Filipino dish. It can be cooked with beef, pork or chicken. I’ve even used boneless bangus fillets, a real treat. But probably the most exotic kaldereta is the version using goat meat. I’ve tried it and didn’t particularly like it. Too little meat.
Traditionally, kaldereta sauce is thickened with mashed cooked liver. Modern cooks substitute canned liver spread or bottled liver pate (more expensive). My personal preference is mashed boiled chicken livers. If you’ve never used mashed liver before and find canned liver spread more convenient, well, I guess you won’t really perceive the difference. Your kaldereta will still taste good. But, if you’re in the mood for the extra effort, I really encourage using mashed boiled chicken livers. Once you’ve tried it, you would consider substituting liver spread only as a last and desperate resort.
- 1 kilo of stewing beef (batok, brisket, short ribs or boneless shanks)
1/4 kilo of white onions, finely chopped
1/4 kilo of tomatoes, finely chopped
1/3 c. of finely minced garlic
4 bell peppers (2 finely chopped; 2 cut in wedges for garnish)
1/2 c. of tomato paste
1 bay leaf
salt to taste
4 tbsps. of olive oil
1/4 k. of chicken livers
12 green olives (stoned or pitted)
3/4 c. of frozen sweet peas
2-3 red hot chili peppers
chopped parsley for garnish
cooking oil for frying the potatoes
- Cut the beef into 2″ chunks.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan or casserole. Over high heat, brown the beef chunks, in batches if necessary. Add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, bay leaf, chili peppers and chopped bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Season with salt. Add the tomato paste. Pour in about 2-3 cups of water, stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for two hours or until the meat is fork tender. Stir occasionally during cooking. If the sauce becomes too dry before the meat is cooked, add more water, about half a cup at a time.
While the beef simmers, prepare the potatoes. Wash, peel and cut them into wedges. Heat about 2 c. of cooking oil in a skillet. When smoking, add the potato wedges and cook until golden. Drain on paper towels.
Boil the chicken livers with a little water. When cooked, mash with a fork or pass through the blender or food processor. Adding a little liquid will make the process easier.
When the beef is cooked, add the fried potatoes, peas, olives, wedges of bell pepper and mashed liver. Simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. Add the chopped parsley and simmer for another minute.
Cooking time (duration): about 2 hours
Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6