Monday, March 23, 2009

Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)

We liked the idea of having a Culinary Tour Around the World. This event is created and hosted by Joan of Foodalogue. We entered a dish for the Ethiopian stop, but didn't get the chance to do so for the subsequent theme countries. Hence, we're excited that she has made a stop in the Philippines. Ever since our Starry, Starry Night, we've been on a Filipino food kick, resulting in quite the backlog of Filipino dishes. It was just a matter of picking one for this blog event.

Kaldereta is a Filipino stew that is traditionally made with goat meat. That was the reason why I figure we did not usually have this dish growing up. My parents were not "alternative-meat" eaters and did not care for the gaminess of goat or lamb.

We did ask our Yaya to make kaldereta once or twice with beef. Nowadays, I would hazard that the default kaldereta would be beef. But come to think of it, it isn't really the protein that is the star of the kaldereta. It is those frangrant bell peppers that keep us coming back.

Making it is as easy as any stew. First off, browning the beef.

I did ours in our well-used Batali dutch oven. This dish was already smelling good! I set the beef aside.

In the same pot, I added chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, garlic, chopped bell peppers, some bay leaves and chili peppers. I cooked this until the vegetables have softened. I must say, the bell peppers really gives this an unforgettable aroma!

The bell peppers are chopped small here to be simmered with the beef. Larger bite-sized pieces will be added later on for eating!

I stirred in some tomato paste and let that cook a bit. Then, the browned beef went back in.

One can also use canned tomatoes in this dish. In that case, I would add the canned tomatoes in with the beef.

I added enough water to cover the contents of the pot (it didn't need much). I brought the mixture to a boil, then lowered the heat. I covered the pot and let it do its thing.

Warning: gratuitous fried potato images

While the beef was in its bath, I prepped the potatoes. I peeled a few potatoes and cut them into large chunks. I heated some olive oil and started shallow-frying away!

Here they are draining on paper towels.

I guess one can use potatoes without frying them first. Simply add the potatoes mid-way through the cooking process, or about 1 hour before the beef is done.

Magic Ingredients

Bell peppers and olives. I didn't used to like olives. But, more and more, they're starting to grow on me. I think I mostly like all the green ones now. I still have to work on the brown/black ones.

When the beef was tender, I added the large pieces of bell peppers and olives to the stew, followed by the fried potatoes and some frozen peas. It looked like there was a fiesta going on with all those colors!

At this point, all it needs is to cook a little bit to soften the bell peppers a tad.

Oh yes, the pot was that full!

Either we need to cook smaller amounts of food, or buy bigger pots.

(Resolution: less is more. I think we used about 5 pounds of beef this time!)

The combination of tomatoes, bell peppers and olives is quite intoxicating. On rice or potatoes, this sauce is amazing! The beef (or goat meat, if using) just recedes into the background for me, giving the sauce a beefy heft to it. This dish absolutely tastes as good as it smells.

Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Makes 8 to 12 servings

olive oil (for browning beef)
2.2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 2" cubes
(brisket, shanks, chuck)

1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
(or, 1 can whole tomatoes and its liquid (28-ounce))
1/3 cup minced garlic
2 bell peppers, chopped
1-2 bay leaves
2-3 chili peppers
1/4 cup tomato paste
water (to cover)

olive oil (for frying potatoes)
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

2-3 bell peppers, cut into large pieces
12 green olives (pitted)
3/4 cup peas (frozen is fine)
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)

In a dutch oven (or similar pot), heat olive oil over high. Add beef cubes and brown each side. You may need to do this in batches. When beef cubes have been browned, take out of pot and set aside.

Add chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, garlic, chopped bell peppers, bay leaf and chili peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium/medium-low heat until vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook until it turns deeper in color, about 2 minutes.

Add the browned beef back into the pot. If using canned tomatoes, pour the can and its contents into the pot at the point.

Add enough water to cover the contents of the pot, if needed. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Simmer for at least 2 hours or until meat is tender.

While the beef is simmering, prepare the potatoes. Add oil to shallow but wide pan until it is about 1-inch in height. When hot, add the potatoes. Cook until golden, stirring occasionally. Drain.

When the simmering meat is tender, uncover. Add the fried potatoes, large pieces of bell peppers, olives and peas. Adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper). When the bell peppers have softened a little bit, stir in chopped parsley.

Serve with white rice.

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[eatingclub] vancouver Filipino food
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Faux Kamote-Que
Philippine-Style Chicken "BBQ"
Fried Hasa Hasa (Mackerel)
"Savory" Chicken Wings
Sinamak (Chile-infused Vinegar)
Pan-roasted Halibut w/ Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes & Bagoong Butter Sauce
Bulalo & Bangus: an even simpler Filipino meal
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Oyster Torta (Oyster Omelette)
Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup w/ Green Papaya & Pepper Leaves)
(Chinese) Roast Pork Belly / Lechon
Tilapia wrapped in Banana Leaves
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Chicken Adobo
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) & Lechon Sauce
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Bistek (Citrus Beef with Caramelized Onions)
Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines) and Pressure Cooker Fear

We're submitting this to The Culinary Tour Around the World, created by our virtual tour guide, Joan of Foodalogue.

Foodalogue: The Philippines
Round-up coming soon.


  1. This looks delicious. I can almost imagine this with the goat meat, although that's kind of hard to come by around here. I love the potatoes...

  2. Its such a colorful dish, those peppers really make it look tasty

  3. You're back! Hope you had a great trip, wherever you went. Will you be blogging about it? :)

    Love how colorful this dish looks.

  4. This stew looks very comforting, I can almost taste it. I would also like to try it with goat meat, we have a goat meat stew dish in Ecuador and even there most restaurants now prepare it with lamb because it is easier to find, but I find that when goat meat is prepared in a stew it tastes so much better than lamb. The potatoes also look so good.

  5. That's one of my most favorite Filipino dishes-- whether it's goat or beef! I'll have to double check my sources, though-- the versions I know have liver paste in the sauce. In any case, it looks mighty delicious!

  6. I really like the big pieces of bell peppers in there. I wonder how it would taste with chicken legs instead...

  7. Fearless Kitchen:
    I'm still a little scared of goat meat. =) But, we do have some in the freezer, actually. It has to be used eventually.

    Very fiesta-friendly. =)

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    Thanks! We went to Taipei for a wedding. We will be blogging about it... in bits and pieces, I guess?

    Oh, teehee. I'm busted!! I left it out.

    It's still going to be good... although sometimes beef can't be beat. ;)


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