Caldereta; Filipino Stew With Beer & Bay Leaf

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Our Home Kitchens, Pacific Island/Asian Cuisine, Recipes | 0 comments


Filipino Style Stew

Filipino Style Stew
Photo: The Little Things Blog


By Allan Reyes

One of the strongest memories I have of my grandmother’s kitchen (or Lola, as we Filipinos affectionately call our matriarchs) is the hot blue flame of her stove while she made Caldereta . I remember the stove’s sound, how it carefully hissed, exploded into blue fire, and hummed its little song. The stewing of the meats gave the kitchen a comfortably humid and cavernous air and I remember how I loved spending time in there, sitting atop the giant rice drums, watching her glasses fog up from the steam. This is when the bubbling of the stewing meat, the rhythmic separating of the rice skillfully done by a relative nearby, the grinding of coconuts, and the humming of my Lola produced a unique orchestra of its own. Cooking music. In her memory I have saved many recipes from her song book that I’d love to share, starting with Caldereta.

Caldereta, from the Spanish word ‘Caldera’, originally hails from Spain. It consists of tender goat meat (along with lamb liver), tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, and spices (cumin, pepper), thrown into a large cauldron and allowed to stew. This produces a savory sauce that was originally accented with goat cheese and parsley. During the Spanish occupation of the Phillippines, the recipe was updated with the country’s own ingredients. Here now is a further update to the recipe by my Lola who liked a little ‘kick’ in her cooking:

Raw Beef Cubes

Raw Beef Cubes

2 lb. beef round cubed
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
10 pcs. peppercorns, crushed (or 1 tsp. ground pepper)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 c. olive oil
1 c. onion, sliced
1/2 c. tomato sauce (mushroom-based)
1 c. water
1 c. beer (to give it a ‘malty’ flavor; Lola used San Miguel, a Filipino pilsner but you can be imaginative here and try different flavors; IMHO Fat Tire or Sam Adams would add and even maltier/hoppier bite)
1 c. bell pepper strips
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, cubed
Cooked in four stages, (1) marinate the cubed beef in apple cider vinergar, pepper, and garlic for 30min. (2) Fry pieces of beef in olive oil along with onion until browned. (3) Pour in tomato sauce, water, and beer, bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 min. Add bay leaf, pepper strips, carrots, potatoes and let simmer for another 10 min or until beef is tender. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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