Though I think pork is mostly the meat of choice in Filipino cuisine, there are beef dishes that are integral in our cooking. Two of the most popular ones are the Beef Mechado and this other hearty stew, Beef Caldereta.
People at times get confused as to what the difference is between these two. For me, the use of liver spread makes it distinct. As it melts in the stew, it gives this dish a distinct flavor and richness. I have seen some add coconut milk or grated cheese but I settle for the liver taste. For both dishes though, a well-marbled beef cut is a must as the extra fat imparts a deeper taste and gives it a better texture.
Like the classic adobo, everyone has their own version of this classic Filipino food…
and this one is mine. It’s the taste that’s familiar to my palate as my mom makes it this way too.
Beef Caldereta (Kalderetang Baka)
- 2 lbs beef round or brisket cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
- 2-3 Yukon gold yellow potatoes, quartered
- 1 medium carrot cut into chunks
- 1 red bell pepper cut into squares
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 1 78 g can Reno liver spread ¼ cup
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Heat a large pot (with lid) then add 3 tablespoons of oil. Season beef with salt and pepper and add (fat side down) once the oil is hot. Sear both sides until the meat is browning and rendering its fat. Remove from the pan. Cook meat in batches if using a smaller pot.
- Add the onions (in the same pot) and saute until translucent. Put the garlic in next and saute for a few seconds before adding the bay leaves, tomato paste, liver spread, water and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Add the seared meat back, stir well and cover. Bring to a boil and simmer on low until the meat is tender.
- Taste and adjust seasoning (salt and ground black pepper), if needed. Add the potatoes* (see note), put the lid back and simmer for 5 minutes. Then, place the carrots and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender. Finally, put in the bell peppers. Turn the heat off. The residual heat is enough to cook it.
- Serve with rice.