Caldereta, also spelled as Kaldereta, is a beef stew and considered a comfort food due to its rich ingredients and spicy taste. The stew is very popular in Philippines, mainly on the Luzon island, and has been around for a very long time. The dish is simple to prepare and does not take very long. Over the years, the dish has become a staple at every fiesta and a common household preparation. The dish is also served commonly at the local Filipino turo-turo places, otherwise known as the point-point joints.
Origin of Caldereta Recipe
Apart from the fact that it is a Spanish-inspired dish and a Filipino invention, little is known about the origin of the stew. It was essentially an invention of the natives of Philippines and later migrated to other regions as people started traveling more.
Traditionally, the main ingredients of the stew are beef, tomato sauce and liver spread. As lamb was more expensive than beef in the days when the dish first came to light, the latter was used more for local preparation and the former was reserved for the wealthy and ruling class.
Over the years, there have been many variations of Caldereta, mostly with the use of different meats. Depending on individual preferences, chicken, beef, goat or lamb can be used. However, people who like the stew the traditional way continue to insist that beef is the best meat to be used for preparation.
Adding liver spread is not necessary. It was originally an important ingredient as the dish had to be made rich and thick. There are various alternatives to the spread available nowadays which make the preparation equally rich. Lovers of the traditional recipe, however, stress that the preparation is not complete without liver spread.
Preparation of the Caldereta Recipe
The meat, mostly beef, is combined with salt and water and cooked till it is tender. Garlic, tomatoes and liver spread are mixed and cooked separately and then combined with the beef. The preparation is cooked till all the ingredients have mixed properly. Beef stock is added and the concoction is cooked till it has thickened. It is then topped with chopped onions and Caldereta is ready to be served.
Serving and Eating Caldereta
Depending upon the recipe followed for preparation, the dish can be consumed with steamed rice or all by itself. Caldereta is served hot and although it started as a main course, the preparation is today sometimes served as a part of a larger lunch or dinner meal. The traditional recipe does not call for any garnishing, but depending on personal preferences and local recipes, the dish can be garnished with sliced tomatoes, chopped onions or fried potatoes.
Variations of the Caldereta Recipe
In Metro Manila, the stew is commonly prepared by adding potatoes, onions and bell peppers to the standard recipe ingredients. In some regions, a spoonful of peanut butter is added to give the stew a richer taste. One of the most common variations of the recipe is found in the Southern Tagalog region where things are kept very simple and only sauce and meat are combined to make Caldereta.