Beef Caldereta

Beef Caldereta is simmered to tenderness in a spicy tomato sauce. Chockfull of potatoes, bell peppers, and green olives, this classic Filipino stew is hearty, tasty, and perfect for family dinners or special occasions.

What is Caldereta?

Calderata, which comes from the word caldera, meaning cauldron, is another example of the many Spanish influences in Filipino cuisine. While similar to afritada and mechado in preparation and use of tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers, this hearty beef stew also includes liver spread and shredded cheese to thicken the sauce and chili peppers to add spice.

Kaldereta is traditionally made of goat meat and is usually prepared for holidays and special occasions. It’s commonly served in parties and get-togethers as an appetizer (pulutan) to accompany beer or hard drinks. Over the years, however, the dish has evolved into a regular dinner fixture, using more accessible meats such as pork, chicken, and beef.

What Cuts of Beef to Use for Kalderetang Baka?

For best results, use tough, leaner cuts from the front shoulder or the rear muscle, which don’t have a lot of fat but plenty of collagen-rich connective tissues.

I like bottom round for kalderata and other braised dishes, but chuck, bottom eye, and rump roasts are excellent choices. Not only are these meat cheaper, but they also break down into melt-in-your-mouth, richly-flavored bites over the low and slow cooking process.

Although most supermarkets sell already cut “beef stew” meat, I prefer to buy the whole roast and cut it myself. The packaged beef stew meat is usually made up of scraps from various cuts of beef and might cook quite differently.

Cooking Tips

  • To make slicing the roast easier, freeze for a few minutes until partially firm. Cut into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking and trim off as much of the gristle which can be too tough to chew.
  • Give the beef a nice sear to maximize flavor.
  • I like to briefly pan-fry the potatoes and carrots; this simple step helps them hold shape and keep them from falling apart when simmered in the stew.
  • If you want to tone down the spice, scrape off the seeds and veins of the chili peppers before mincing.
  • How to serve and store?

  • Kalderetang baka is delicious as a main dish with steamed rice or as a pulutan with your favorite hard drinks.
  • Store leftovers in a container with a lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
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