Caldereta is sort of considered a special dish in the Philippines, it is served on weekends and special occasions such as birthday parties, baptismal, etc. I think it’s because it’s not a “cheap” dish to make, it has a number of ingredients and beef is more expensive than pork and chicken.
I have always loved my mom’s Caldereta and when my husband and I were still in the Philippines, I would cheat by buying a ready-made mix! 😀 When my mom knew that, she taught me that a secret to a good Caldereta is to marinate the beef in soy sauce and ketchup for at least one night. Also, she puts pineapple (just the pineapple, not the syrup!) but my husband is not fond of that so I skipped that.
I started by marinating the beef overnight in 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/8 cup Heinz ketchup. I would think that it’s best to use tomato ketchup instead of the Filipino banana ketchup. 🙂 I loved the UFC ketchup when I was young, dipping my Tender Juicy hotdogs or Swift hotdogs there but now, I don’t know how to appreciate it anymore — the Heinz tomato ketchup has brainwashed me. Haha!
The next day, I prepared the other ingredients which were: onion, garlic, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, tomato paste, liver spread, bell peppers and cheese.
In a pot, I heated 1 tbsp of canola oil then added the 3 tbsp of onion and sautéed that until translucent (about 2 minutes).
Then added the 1 tbsp minced garlic and sautéed that for about 1 minute.
Next, I sautéed the marinated beef until it looked cooked on the outside (about 3-5 minutes).
I then added 3/4 cup of beef broth and brought that to a boil and let it simmer for 2 hours — in those two hours, I had to add 1 cup more of beef broth because the sauce was being reduced. If I had cooked this in a pressure cooker, it would have taken at least 45 minutes (to an hour, after the continuous whistle).
After 2 hours of simmering, I rejoiced! The beef was finally tender so I added the potatoes and carrots.
I also started to adjust the taste of the dish by adding 1 small can of Reno liver spread, 1 tbsp of tomato paste and 2 tbsp of cheddar cheese. We like the Reno better than liver paté or Pure Food’s liver spread — I don’t know, I think it’s because it has a stronger taste of liver. Don’t forget to put in the cheese and liver spread, these two ingredients are what distinguishes it from Mechado and Menudo. We wouldn’t want to have a guest dance happily and say “It’s the best Mechado in town!” 😀 (Inspired by Ryan Agoncillo’s line in Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo)
When the carrots and potatoes were tender, I added the green and bell peppers and five bird’s eye chiles (siling labuyo). At first I added just three — then I had my husband taste it and he asked for more chili! That’s when I added two more.
You can adjust the heat of this dish by putting just one bird’s eye chili or even more than 5. 🙂 My husband loves spicy food but I can’t handle them when they’ve gotten too hot! I’d need a lot of rice and Coke — wouldn’t want that, my pants are already screaming — get a bigger size please! 😀
The orange-y color is because of the cheese and the thick sauce is because of the liver spread. 🙂 If you think the taste of the liver spread is too strong, you can add 1/4 by 1/4 of the can — that’s what I do, I don’t just pour/put in the entire amount of the ingredients. If you like a cheeeeeesy caldereta, you can add more cheese and if you are like my mom who likes sweeter dishes, the pineapple may just do the trick for you too! 🙂 Remember, when you’re putting canned pineapple in, don’t pour in the syrup.
Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 2 hours and 20 minutes
- 500g beef (we got the beef shoulder)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/8 cup tomato ketchup
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 3 Tbsp onion
- 1 Tbsp garlic
- 1 3/4 cup beef broth (or water and 1-2 beef buillon cube)
- 2 small potatoes
- 1 small carrot (or a handful of baby carrots)
- 1 can of Reno liver spread
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp cheese
- Half of small red and green bell peppers
- 5 bird’s eye chiles
- Marinate the beef overnight (at least).
- Sauté the onion in oil until translucent.
- Sauté the garlic for about 1 minute.
- Brown the beef by sautéing it for around 3-5 minutes.
- Add the beef broth (you can add less than 1 3/4, the amount of sauce depends on you) and bring to a boil then simmer until the beef was tender.
- Put the carrots and potato into the pot.
- Adjust the taste of the sauce by adding 1 can of Reno liver spread, 1 Tbsp of tomato paste and 2 Tbsp of cheddar cheese.
- When the carrots and potatoes are almost done, put the bell peppers and the chiles.
Makes 4-5 servings