Caldereta is a delicious meat stew from Philippines, with a medley of vegetables slow cooked to perfection. The dish got its name from the word ‘cauldron’ (caldero in Spanish), the pot in which the dish was cooked. Cooked on special occasions and holidays, it will add color to any table.
I used a mix of peppers for this dish, in addition to the potatoes and carrots. The balance of the flavors of meat, root vegetables and the peppers was perfect. Now I’m tempted to try other vegetable combinations in this recipe. Cauliflower and peas are definitely worth a try.
Originated in the Castile and León region of Spain, caldereta used to be cooked with meat from sheep, common to the area. Later, due to the Spanish influences on Filipino cuisine, it came to be popular in Philippines, but with goat meat instead of sheep. Modern versions are made with beef or pork.
The addition of olives along with tomato paste gives the dish a tangy twist while the peanut butter adds to the creaminess. The cheddar brings it all together but can be omitted if you prefer it simpler.
Traditionally, caldereta was thickened with liver pate (paste) but many modern versions avoid liver due to the gamy flavor. You can add it to the dish if you like it.
You can also try adding cooked garbanzo beans or white beans to this dish for variety.
Caldereta is generally served with cooked white rice.
C is for Caldereta
- Heat the oil in a largish pot, over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook till lightly brown. Drain and keep aside.
- Add chopped onions and carrots to the pot. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Cook till onions are transparent. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute.
- Add the beef pieces to the pot and cook, turning to brown them evenly.
- When the meat is browned, add the tomato paste and cook for two minutes, stirring the tomato paste well into the oil.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and chillies. Stir together and cook.
- When the liquid starts to dry up, add 1 and 1/2 cups of water.
- Cover the pot and lower the heat. Continue to cook till the beef is tender, about 90 minutes.
- Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as required.
- When the beef is done, add the potatoes to the pot. Add more water if required.
- When the potatoes are fully cooked, add the bell peppers and olives to the pot. Continue to cook for three minutes.
- Stir in the cheese evenly and allow it to melt.
- Check seasoning and serve hot with cooked white rice.
- If you are using liver pate, add it to the pot just before the cheese and blend well.