Most Filipino households have treasured recipes passed down from generation to generation. The collection of old-time favorites usually includes hearty fare, like adobo, Pinoy spaghetti, and inihaw na baboy. Of course, celebratory dishes also make it to the list. Take beef caldereta, for example. Every family has their own way of preparing the well-loved ulam – from the meat used to the toppings added.
It’s hard to beat a classic, but sometimes, you must make alterations to keep up with the (trying!) times. Maybe you’re expecting a large group but working with a tight budget. Or you found a different beef cut on sale; why pass up on the offer? Introducing slight changes to your beef caldereta recipe isn’t a crime! Here, learn creative ways to cook the dish for your next handaan without breaking the bank.
How to Cook Festive Beef Caldereta on a Budget
There are countless caldereta recipes out there. But only a few will teach you how to make the beef stew extraordinary without exceeding your budget. This guide lets you in on some helpful techniques.
1. Build a flavorful base.
Pinoys love drowning their rice with sauce, which effectively doubles as an ulam extender. For this reason, you must make your base extra flavorful: dapat sarsa pa lang, ulam na! Here are some tricks to help you build an umami-packed foundation:
- Use lechon sauce instead of liver spread to cut costs without sacrificing quality and flavor. A cup of the sarsa, which also contains pork liver, is half the price of a canned pâté. Combine the condiment with a tablespoon of peanut butter for a nuttier taste.
- Swap out ready-made sauce for fresh tomatoes. For every kilo of meat, you’ll only need about two to three large pieces. Chop and sauté them in a deep pot with garlic and onions. Don’t rush this step; you want the trio to caramelize and release their natural sweetness.
- Make a mighty stock by boiling meat bones. But don’t stop there! Add Knorr Beef Cubes to enhance the linamnam of your sauce.
- Create a creamy base with the help of all-purpose cream! Or give it tropical flair with inexpensive gata.
2. Choose the right meat.
Classic caldereta recipes call for goat meat. But nowadays, more people use beef chuck or short ribs. However, these cuts can take a toll on your budget. Why not replace them with pork or chicken? Alternatively, you can compromise by combining ingredients. For example, split the portions between tapadera and liempo. Or, if you want to stick to baka, consider using chunky corned beef as a primary protein.
3. Throw in tasty mix-ins.
Tired of the usual carrots, bell peppers, green peas, and potatoes? Besides these basic components, many other pantry staples can transform the stew into a fiesta-level masterpiece. Check out these suggestions:
- Olives – Many recipes call for whole pitted ones. But to cut costs, go for the sliced version instead.
- Kinchay – Introduce a pop of green and fresh citrusy notes when you add this herb.
- Quail eggs – Adding eggs isn’t just for adobo. Top your stew with hard-boiled quail eggs to make it kid-friendlier.
- Cheese – It’s not uncommon to add cheese to this ulam. But instead of the usual processed cheddar, try kesong puti or cream cheese.
- Chili garlic sauce – For extra spice, top your caldereta with spoonfuls of this well-loved condiment.
- Apples – Turn to this fresh fruit to give your dish a sweeter profile.
- Kimchi– Stir in this Korean vegetable dish for a balance of heat and tang.
Caldereta Cooking Methods to Try
Here are some cooking methods to try when you want delicious, fall-off-the-bone meat:
- Roasting the beef releases and develops its complex flavors and aroma. For the best results, parboil the meat first before finishing it in the oven. Alternatively, you can bake the stove-cooked dish for 10 minutes before serving.
- Use a slow cooker to get the most tender meat! Throw your ingredients into the pot and let it do the work while you sleep.
- Take advantage of the shortened cooking time pressure pots can provide. Remember to follow manufacturer instructions to ensure correct and safe cooking.
- Don’t underestimate the traditional palayok. Clay pots allow heat to circulate and flavors to infuse properly. The result? Soft, juicy meat with a deeper flavor profile.
Even if you’re penny-pinching, you can still prepare beef caldereta for your party. Follow these budget- and time-saving practices to serve a stellar stew your guests won’t stop raving about.