Meat stew

F is for Fabada Asturiana 

Fabada Asturiana is a rich pork and beans stew from the Asturias region of northern Spain. Asturias is a rugged mountainous region, and like most mountain food, fabada asturiana is simple and hearty. 

Traditionally, the type of beans used for this stew is fabes de la granja – beans of the farm. As it is fairly difficult to find them in the US, you can use any kind of large white beans. I have used Spanish flat white beans here. 

As with any old recipe, there are several variations going around, especially regarding the meat used. Different types of ham and bacon, chorizo and blood sausages were variously included. For this recipe, I have used ham hock, smoked bacon, slab bacon, and Spanish chorizo sausages. And believe me, it is one of the most flavorful stews I have ever tasted. 

The smoked paprika in the dish enhances the flavors of the chorizo. And the saffron gives it a distinctive color and flavor.

The stew is started in cold water and the flavors are concentrated over slow simmering.

Fabada Asturiana is served with crusty bread, whole wheat being the best.

F is for Fabada Asturiana 

Difficulty:BeginnerServings:6 servings



  1. Soak the beans in cold water, 8 hours prior to the time the stew is to be cooked.
  2. When ready to cook the stew, drain the beans and add them to a large pot.
  3. Add onions (halved), garlic (whole), paprika, saffron, ham hock (whole), two types of bacon (whole), salt and pepper, along with 10 cups of cold water to the pot.
  4. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Continue to cook on simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Check the liquid level of the pot; liquid should be sufficient to cover the ingredients. If required, add more water.
  6. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
  7. Add the chorizos to the pot. Continue cooking till the beans are soft and the liquid is thickened to the consistency of gravy, for about 30 minutes more.
  8. Check seasoning and adjust salt and pepper, if required.
  9. When ready, pick up the ham hock, slab bacon and chorizo out of the pot using a slotted spoon and place them on a chopping board. Cut the meat from the ham hock into large pieces, discarding the bone. Cut the slab bacon and chorizo into bite size pieces.
  10. Place the meat back in the pot with the beans.
  11. Serve hot along with thick slices of crusty bread.
Keywords:Bacon, Beans, Ham, Meat stew

C is for Caldereta

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

Difficulty:IntermediateServings:6 servings



  1. Heat the oil in a largish pot, over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook till lightly brown. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Add chopped onions and carrots to the pot. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Cook till onions are transparent. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute.
  4. Add the beef pieces to the pot and cook, turning to brown them evenly.
  5. When the meat is browned, add the tomato paste and cook for two minutes, stirring the tomato paste well into the oil.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and chillies. Stir together and cook.
  7. When the liquid starts to dry up, add 1 and 1/2 cups of water.
  8. Cover the pot and lower the heat. Continue to cook till the beef is tender, about 90 minutes.
  9. Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as required.
  10. When the beef is done, add the potatoes to the pot. Add more water if required.
  11. When the potatoes are fully cooked, add the bell peppers and olives to the pot. Continue to cook for three minutes.
  12. Stir in the cheese evenly and allow it to melt.
  13. 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.
Keywords:Stew, Meat, Meat stew, Peppers, Olives

Kare Kare… a Meat Stew Perfect for the Winter!

Last week was real cold… and breezy to boot. Perfect weather for a meaty stew. I had been planning to make a Kare Kare for a few days and last week, I finally got around to it. And man, am I glad! It looked good, tasted good, and was healthy as well!


The vibrant orange colour of the dish is achieved by the use of achiote seeds, something new for me.

Achiote seeds are commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines to add colour and flavour to food. I had seen them used by one of my friends from Puerto Rico and I was charmed. And I bought a bottle of the seeds from a Hispanic store. So the Kare Kare was the perfect opportunity to try it out!


The seeds are not used directly in the food; at least that is what my friend told me. You soak it in some water and use that water for adding colour to food. Or you can fry it in some oil and use the oil for colour. Achiote is also available in powder form, which actually is the extracted colour mixed with corn flour.


To use achiote with oil, heat the oil and add a teaspoon of the seeds. Keep stirring on a low heat. When the seeds turn dark, take off the heat and discard the seeds. You can use the oil like any other oil for cooking, and it will add a brilliant yellow-orange colour to whatever you cook.


See how the drained seeds (to be discarded) have stained the paper towel!

The achiote trees are a warm weather species, growing around the world.

In addition to the seeds, the pericarp covering of the seeds are also used for colour extraction. Since ancient times, achiote has been used to add colour to cheeses and other dairy products and processed foods.


Traditionally, the meat used for Kare Kare is oxtails. You can also add pork hocks or different cuts of beef. I used a combination of oxtails and short ribs with perfect results.


The meats are first cooked in a broth. As the oxtails are quite fatty, it is a good idea to remove most of the pure fat from the broth. I usually cook the meat the previous day and pop it in the refrigerator overnight so that the fat can be easily and completely removed.


The health aspect of this dish is that it hits a perfect balance of meat and vegetables. Yard long beans (sitaw), bok choy, and eggplant are the most commonly used vegetables. I added a red pepper as well, for the colour.

This all around great dish has its origin in Philippines, where it is commonly served on festive occasions.

Kare Kare... a Meat Stew Perfect for the Winter!
Recipe type: Entree
Kare Kare is ideally cooked over two days - cook the meat in the stock the first day and finish the dish the second day. This way, you can get rid of the excess fat content from the oxtails easily.
  • 4 pieces of oxtail, 2 inch thick
  • 2 lbs of beef; bone-in cuts like short ribs work best
  • 2 onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • A small bunch yard long beans (sitaw)
  • 1 large bok choy or a bunch of baby bok choy
  • 1 purple eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp achiote seeds
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Cooked rice and shrimp paste to serve
  1. One day one, cut the beef into large pieces.
  2. Place the oxtail pieces and the beef pieces in a large pot.
  3. Cut one onion into big wedges and add to the meat.
  4. Crush 4 of the garlic cloves with their skin on and add to the meat.
  5. Add the whole peppercorns and cloves to the pot as well.
  6. Pour cold water up to two inches above the meat and bring to a boil.
  7. Simmer on low heat till the meat is very tender (usually takes 2 to 2 ½ hours), stirring once in a while.
  8. Add more water to the pot as required, to maintain the level. At the end you should have seven to eight cups of stock.
  9. When the meat is cooked well, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  10. Keep in the refrigerator overnight or for at least three hours.
  11. When ready to continue, bring the pot out of the refrigerator and carefully remove and discard the sheet of fat on the top.
  12. Carefully remove the meat pieces onto a platter.
  13. Sieve the stock and discard the solids.
  14. Cut the remaining onion into smallish wedges.
  15. Skin and thinly slice the remaining 4 garlic cloves.
  16. Cut the vegetables into two-inch long narrow pieces.
  17. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium heat.
  18. Add the achiote seeds, reduce the heat to low and keep stirring.
  19. When the achiote seeds get dark, remove from the heat and separate and discard the seeds.
  20. Return the pan with the oil to the stove and add the onions.
  21. When they start to brown around the edges, add the garlic and sauté for a minute.
  22. Add the peanut butter, fish sauce and the stock.
  23. Stir together and bring to boil.
  24. Add the cooked meat and cut vegetables to the pot.
  25. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  26. Cook till the vegetables are done yet crisp.
  27. Remove from heat and serve with cooked rice and sautéed shrimp paste (bagoong) on the side. Yum!