Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kalderetang Baka Beef Stew By Market Manila

I have never made a Pinoy style kaldereta (baka or kambing/beef or goat) before. And I wasn’t totally thrilled with the outcome of this recipe, say a 7.5/10.0 so I haven’t added the “a la Marketman” to it yet. It’s been almost a year since I made a fairly decent beef mechado, if a shortcut version, without the actual strip of fat inserted into the beef, post here. And the comments on that post tried to differentiate between a kaldereta and a mechado. I suppose a mechado is a form of kaldereta, with slightly different ingredients. A kaldereta, I am presuming, refers to a stew in a kaldereta or kettle/stewing pot, most likely a cast iron one originally. At any rate, I saw a whole bunch of beef with bones at the grocery with the tag kaldereta cut so I thought I would experiment… In my mind, and according to some of my cookbooks, a kaldereta (most usually made with goat’s meat, but now more and more with readily available beef, is a tomato-y stew with liver spread or smashed liver and potatoes, carrots, olives?, etc. Personally, I was aiming for an incredibly melt in your mouth soft meat in lots of sauce that despite the presence of potatoes, I was going to eat with rice…

So I stuck all of the beef with bones in a large enameled pot, added water and let this barely simmer for 3-4 hours, until the meat was very, very tender. Do not let it reach a boil, just the faintest murmur on the surface of the water. In retrospect, buying this “kaldereta cut” at the grocery was a bit of a dumb, albeit probably more authentic, idea. It is filled with bone shards and while the meat itself turned tender after a long simmer, for me this wasn’t the ideal way to make a kaldereta that not only tasted good, but looked good and was easy to eat as well. I am sure the bones added to the flavor of the broth, though only a little of it was used in the final sauce of the kaldereta. I removed the beef and bones from the pot, boiled down the broth until it was just half the volume and set this aside to add some of it to the final dish. In another pot, I sauteed onions, garlic, then a few minutes later added chopped canned tomatoes (I consciously chose to go with canned tomatoes as opposed to tomato sauce, and that might NOT have been the best idea). I also added canned liver spread, a cup or more of stock, and some soy sauce, a move similar to chrisb’s recipe for morcon I featured two Christmases ago. I let this simmer for a while until it thickened a bit. Added in the beef and bones, some chopped red peppers, small potatoes and carrots and let this simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with lots of rice.

This kaldereta was good, but the sauce wasn’t thick and coating all of the meat and veggies, instead it was a little too soup-like. Mind you, two days later, the leftovers heated up brilliantly. The best part about this dish was the meat. INCREDIBLY TENDER. I like the results of boiling it separately, but I fret that precious flavor was lost by not stewing it all together for hours. I omitted the olives you normally find in kaldereta as I generally don’t like cooked olives. I did add some sliced chorizo bilbao. If you have any tips to help me along towards a real top-notch kaldereta, I would appreciate your comments.


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