Kaldereta is a classic Filipino dish which can be used to cook goat, beef, pork, chicken and even fish but my favourite one is always using beef. There’s something about that rich sweet and sour goodness that just hits the spot for me!
The secret is to always use the tough cuts of beef, specially for long hours of slow cooking to get all their flavors, searing them properly then slow cooking lots of onions and garlic till caramelized and freshly boiled, pureed chicken livers (not the canned ones - it makes a difference!). Using beef stock or beef stock mixed with a can of beer is a recommended option if you have more time! Once you had a taste of this, you’ll be hooked!
1 kg of stewing beef (brisket, short ribs or boneless shanks)
400g of white onions (or more), finely chopped
250g of tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup of finely minced garlic
4 red capsicum (2 finely chopped; 2 cut in wedges for garnish)
1/2 cup of tomato paste
1 – 2 bay leaf
salt to taste
4 tablespoons of olive oil (NOT extra virgin olive oil)
250g of chicken livers (cleaned, boiled and pureed till smooth)
4-5 potatoes (washed and cut into wedges)
12 green olives (stoned or pitted)
3/4 cup of frozen sweet peas
2-3 birds eye chili, chopped (reduce if you cannot take the heat)
chopped parsley for garnish
cooking oil for deep frying the potatoes
For seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Tomato Ketchup (Banana Ketchup)
Cut the beef into 2 inch chunks.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce pan or casserole for cooking the stew. Over high heat, brown the beef chunks, in batches – be patient and take care to brown all the sides. Searing the beef chunks is an important step! Set aside the seared beef chunks.
Using the remaining oil, add the chopped onions first, slowly cooking them on medium heat and constantly stirring them until they turn slightly light brown in colour. At this time, take care to use the onions to scrape the caramelized brown bits from the beef off the base and sides of the casserole or pan (this is the flavor!). Do not rush this process, the flavor base of the stew comes from your caramelized onions!
Add your garlic and stir for a while, then add the tomatoes, bay leaf, chili peppers and chopped bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables are soft then add the tomato paste. You can then add your seared beef chunks at this stage – mix well.
Pour in about 2-3 cups of water (you can replace this with beef stock or mix in a can of San Miguel beer!) 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 (beef stock or beer!), about half a cup at a time.
While the beef is simmering, prepare the potatoes. Wash, peel and cut them into wedges. Heat enough cooking oil to deep fry the potatoes. When the oil is hot enough (adding flour will create lots of sizzling bubbles), add the potato wedges and cook until golden. Drain and set aside.
When the beef is cooked, add the fried potatoes, chilies, peas, olives, wedges of bell pepper and mashed chicken liver. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
At this stage, you can adjust the seasonings to your liking. The Filipinos love to add ketchup and extra salt at this stage but if you can get yourself the popular banana ketchup, feel free to use it to add flavor! Add the chopped parsley and simmer a little while just before serving your guests! Serve hot on steamed rice! Oh yes!