A few years back, I caught a local TV show featuring caldereta (beef stewed in tomato sauce and liver sauce) and there was something about the steaming hot meat that called to my inner chef.
I had a long, tiring week at work then but that weekend, I made the dish with what was available in the kitchen.
My first try, using packed caldereta sauce mix was a success with the hubby and our regular house guests.
Eventually, I developed this recipe using ready-made ingredients that are constantly available from the supermarkets I frequented. I also got inspired by Jamie Oliver’s English stews and my dad’s old school caldereta recipe.
My HK-based friend Rye christened the dish after I served it to him. He remarked that it was the first time he’s had caldereta with olives and chorizo. Mostly, what he’s had would only have green peas, potatoes and carrots in it. You have to understand that most of my friends (including me) are were brought up in lower middle class families where ingredients like olives and chorizos are luxuries. As Rye put it, “pagkain ng mayayamang mestizo.” From there, my caldereta dish gained a nickname and a following amongst friends.
So, here’s the recipe, from my home to yours.
1 Kg beef brisket sliced into 3 x 2 inch pieces
water just enough to cover the meat
500 ml beef stock
4 pcs La Reina Chorizo de Bilbao sliced crosswise into ½ inch rings
4 cloves garlic, skinned
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 pieces onions, medium
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs soy sauce
¼ cup pitted green olives, sliced crosswise
¼ cup pitted black olives, sliced crosswise
800 grams whole peeled tomatoes, canned
400 grams diced tomatoes, canned
200 grams champignon (or button) canned mushrooms, slice in half
2 cans Reno liver spread (85 gms. per can)
15 pieces marble potatoes, cut in half
2 pieces carrots, diced
1 piece green bell pepper, diced
½ tsp ground oregano
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried pepperoncini or chili flakes
Clean the beef and place in a pot. Pour water, making sure that it rises above the meat by at least 1 inch. Add 4 cloves of garlic. Cook in high heat. When the water turns to a rolling boil, set the heat to medium and continue boiling until the meat is tender. Separate the beef from the stock. Set aside.
☞It usually takes a minimum of 2 hours to make beef tender without using a pressure cooker. I usually cook mine for 3-4 hours so the beef becomes as soft as corned beef.
When the beef is tender, place a deep wide, frying pan over medium heat. Heat the olive oil and add the Chorizo de Bilbao. When the chorizo is cooked, add the garlic and onions.
☞The chorizo is cooked when it becomes firm and the oil has seeped out of the sausage, turning all ingredients reddish or brownish.
Add the beef and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. When the beef browns a little, add all the liver spread, tomatoes and mushrooms. Mix well. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Heat the last 2 cups (the parts with the bits of meat) of beef stock. When it boils add in the potatoes. After 5 minutes add the carrots and celery.
Pour the beef and tomato mixture to the beef stock with vegetables. Add the oregano, pepper, dried basil and soy sauce to taste. Mix well. Do not cover and let the liquid evaporate to make the sauce thicker. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add chili flakes. Mix and add the bell pepper and olives. Simmer for 3 minutes.
If the sauce has not reached the consistency you like, remove the meat and vegetables and let the sauce simmer in low heat until it reaches your desired consistency.
Serve hot for 5-7 of your friends.
Beef cuts- I usually buy a 50/50 mix of the pochero and caldereta cuts from the supermarket but you can also try a short ribs and pochero combo.
Beef stock- 1 beef bouillon cube diluted in 500 ml of water.
Chorizo de Bilbao- I use the La Reina brand from Shopwise/Rustans because it’s saltier but you can use the ones that you can buy at any high-end deli (Terry’s or Santi’s) or use 1 can of Purefoods Chorizo Bilbao (using the lard that the sausage is preserved in as oil substitute is not for the faint of heart). The chorizo lends it saltiness and a different layer of pork fat to the dish.
Olives- you can just use green olives I black olives are not available. Capers can be used as substitute.
Celery- you can use more carrots if you can’t find any celery. This adds sweetness to the stock.
Marble potatoes- use regular potatoes. Leave the skin on. You can also opt to fry it separately and add it last. I prefer boiling it, though, as the starch helps thicken the sauce.
*Photo by Elmer Gatchalian