Monday, June 30, 2014

Slow Cooker Beef Caldereta and Reunion with Former Filipino Officemates

My version of Caldereta as cooked in a slow cooker.

Rick and Offie posing with the dinner fare consisting of: clockwise from the right, fresh lumpia, shrimp, pickled cucumbers, baked mackerel, achara, Mongolian beef and empanada. In the middle are the fresh Maryland crabs. 
Rick and Offie gathered former co-members of the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) for a reunion at their house in Maryland this past Saturday, June 21.  There were people from different states in the US, namely, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, who made it to the well-planned event.  I drove four hours from Pittsburgh, Pa for this occasion that day and it was worth it.

Seated l to r:  Rick, Seville, Nini and Flor. Standing l to r:  Ed, myself, Ernie, Eden, Offie, Vilma and Myrna.

It was  a joyous occasion which featured sharing stories and jokes, really very funny ones for the most part, and as in all Filipino gatherings partaking of food glorious food.  Offie was the hostess with the mostest as she even planned two different menus namely, one for lunch and a totally different one for dinner.  Lunch consisted of caldereta, fresh crabs, chicken on a stick, lumpia Shanghai and pancit palabok.  Dinner menu is listed in the caption of the picture of Offie and Rick. 

Ernie who is on the right is preparing to tell one of his hilarious jokes.  One I particularly remember is referring to Filipinos in Hawaii as Hulapenos

There were also numerous Filipino desserts served like espasol, leche flan, guinatan, turon and fruit salad.  

Shown are guinatan (top) and espasol (bottom)
There were several dishes that I fell in love with in this reunion and one of them was a Filipino beef stew called Kaldereta or Caldereta served during lunch.  It is similar to other tomato based beef stews but this one is unique in that it is thickened by mashed liver.  The taste of the liver imparts a different flavor that enriches the dish rather than detracts from it.  You would not even notice the liver taste.  Ironically, however, you will know it is not there once you have tasted Caldereta and get smitten by its luscious unique taste since it is not Caldereta without it.

Caldereta that was served during lunch at Offie's house.

I researched the Internet for different versions of this dish and the one I decided to use came from Casa Veneracion.  The directions in this Internet recipe, as in almost all of the other versions I read, call for slow cooking the beef on the stove for at least 2 hours.  Since it was a busy Sunday when I tried cooking this dish, I decided to call on my reliable beloved Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker type to the rescue. 

I also tweaked the original recipe this is adapted from by cutting down some steps since I was planning a long shopping activity after Mass that Sunday.  What resulted was this succulent melt- in- your- mouth rich beef stew.  Cooking it in a slow cooker actually worked.  Picky family members who never had it before did not even notice that there was liver in the sauce. 

My version of Caldereta as cooked in a slow cooker. 

Caldereta in a Slow Cooker


  • 2 lbs beef chuck cut into 2" chunks
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 5 finely minced garlic
  • 2 bell peppers cut in 1/2 inch strips
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 dried red chili peppers crumbled
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 oz liverwurst which I got from the deli, mashed (or you can use canned liver spread)
  • 4 potatoes cut into 1 inch wedges
  • 4 peeled carrots cut on a bias 1 1/2 inch long
  • 12 green olives


Heat the olive oil directly in the slow cooker if it has a saute mode or in my case at the "white rice" mode or use a heavy sauce pan or casserole. Add and saute the garlic, onions, the beef chunks, tomatoes, bay leaf, chili peppers and chopped bell peppers. Cook and stir until the vegetables are soft and the beef chunks are brown. (If you have time you can be more conscientious and brown first the beef till brown and in batches). 

Season with salt and Worcestershire sauce (optional). If you are using a sauce pan for the sauteing step, you can transfer the mixture in the slow cooker.

Add the tomato paste and liverwurst or any other kind of mashed liver to the mixture and stir well. Pour in about 2 cups of water and stir well.  Add the potatoes and carrots.  Cook on low for 8 hours in the slow cooker or 4 hours at high.   In my Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker (older model), I used the slow cook setting for 2 hours.  You can add the olives before serving.  Serve over hot rice.

You may also like these other slow cooker Filipino dishes

Crockpot Filipino Pork Barbecue 
Slow Cooker Filipino Chicken Curry
Slow Cooker PataTim Style Pork Roast  
Slow Cooker Filipino Pork Menudo 
Slow Cooker Chicken Afritada  
Slow Cooker Bulalo

           Slow Cooker Arroz Caldo 

 Slow Cooker Easy Pork Asado
  Slow Cooker Ginger Stew (Tinola)  

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