Beef Caldereta

Beef Caldereta with beef cubes simmered to perfect 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 and special occasions.

G is not a hard man to cook for; serve him a bowlful of chili or a plateful of bacon and scrambled eggs for dinner and he’s a happy camper. He’s not a picky eater, but he’s not adventurous either.

Almost a decade of shared life and I have yet to convince him to try our pinakbet or sinigang. You should see how his big blue eyes would widen in amazement every time I bust out the green mangoes and shrimp paste from the fridge!

But although he hasn’t learned to appreciate Filipino food fully, he does like our adobo, pork BBQ, and this kalderatang baka. He loves to load up his steamed rice with the tender meat and potatoes and the thick spicy sauce!

What is Calderata

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 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, making use of more accessible meats such as pork, chicken, and beef.

What Cuts of Beef to Use for Kalderatang 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 also great choices. Not only are these meat less expensive, but they also break down into melt-in-your-mouth, richly-flavored bites over the low and slow cooking process.

Tips on How to Make Beef Caldereta

  • 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.
  • 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.

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