Beef Caldereta is a dish that transports me to my childhood. Whenever I have this dish, I think of the days when I was a kid in my grandparents’ kitchen and I would watch my grandparents cook food from their country of birth. They spoke fondly of life in the Philippines and preparing Filipino food at their house was a way my grandparents were able to share their stories and introduce us to our roots.
Beef Caldereta is a stew made with beef that is cooked until tender, sweet red pepper, carrots, potato, peas, and green olives. I actually can’t remember if my grandfather used beef in his original recipe. Traditionally, Caldereta is made with goat, but people often substitute with beef, pork or chicken. Since I married into a beef farming family, I version I have always made is Beef Caldereta.
The traditional version also has liver spread or beef liver pâté as an ingredient, but on the island we live on, we can’t always find liver spread/pâté in the grocery stores near us, so I just omit it. My mom would say it’s not Caldereta if there’s no liver spread though.😂 TIP: If you’d like to use liver pâté, you can add 1/2 a cup to your Caldereta when you add the tomato paste and other ingredients. My mom buys the canned kind, but I’ve always wondered why we’ve never made it at home before. That might be a little project for the future.
- 2 lbs stewing beef (you can choose your favourite cut and cube into bite sized pieces)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium sized onion, chopped
- 1 sweet red pepper, cut into bite sizes
- 2 cups broth (I use beef broth)
- 2 cups carrot, peeled and cut into bite sizes
- 2 cups potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup peas (I use frozen since I always have some in my freezer)
- ½ cup green olives (you can use more or less, depending on your taste)
- 100 mL tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a large pot or a Dutch oven, heat enough cooking oil so you brown the cubed beef. Cook beef until all sides are nicely browned.
- Add onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant.
- Add bay leaves. Add tomato paste and stir.
- Add beef broth and stir.
- Cook for 30 minutes or until beef is tender (if using your Dutch oven). It takes twice the time in a regular pot.
- Add carrots and potato and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add sweet red pepper and olives, and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve on top of rice and enjoy!
My grandfather was an incredible cook. His caldereta was always a family favourite. I have a bunch of my grandmother‘s handwritten recipes that she passed to me when I got married, but I don’t have any of my grandfather’s.
The above and below photos are of some of our beef from our farm. We send our cattle to the local abattoir and then we have our beef cut and wrapped at our local butcher’s.
Beef Caldereta brings back happy memories of growing up with my grandparents. What meals transport you back to a special time in your life?