“Caldereta” or “Kaldereta” was derived from the Ilocano word kalding, which means goat and the Spanish word caldera, which means cauldron or large metal pot. In the most definitive term, it is stewed goat meat in tomato sauce and spices in a large metal pot. The dish is specifically an influence of the Spaniards.
The dish may have originated from the Spaniards but our ancestors have added the Filipino flair and modified it to suit the Filipinos taste. The Ilocanos were very much fond of cooking goat meat and so they know the best methods of cooking it. There are actually many dishes that can be made from goat meat like papaitan, kawain, adobong kanding, inalseman and lots more. Goat dishes like the kaldereta are so popular among the Ilocanos that it is now part of the classic Filipino recipes.
Despite it being a very popular dish, there are actually lots of challenges to undertake for a great serving of kaldereta to be prepared. First, the meat is very tough, especially when the goat is seasoned. That is why, when cooking a goat dish, choose a goat meat intended for cooking. The meats to look for are cabrito and chevon as they are the most ideal for kaldereta. Cabrito is between 4 – 8 weeks old and meat is tender, succulent and tasty. Chevon, on the other hand, is between 6 – 9 weeks old but the meat is tad bit less tender.
Second, the meat also has a very strong and not so pleasing odor. In the slang term it is referred to as the anggo or dangro. For the odor to be eliminated, the meat will be marinated in vinegar for good long hours. After that, they parboil the meat with the marinade then discard the liquid. This usually occurs on goats from the Western countries but for goats in the Philippines, there’s nothing else you can smell except the stomach grumbling aroma of a delicious Ilocano dish.
There are countless ways to cook Kalderetang Kambing but the Ilocano style should be the easiest and yummiest of them all. They often use chopped parts of the ribs and shank of the goat because these cuts are the best for goat stewing. Patience is a virtue when it comes to cooking goat meat. The meat is stewed from medium to medium-low heat in order for it to be more tender, flavorful and juicy.
Here are simple ingredients for a 4 to 5 person serving:
- 1 lb. goat meat, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 onion, minced
- 1/2 tsp. chili flakes (optional)
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 6 tbsp. liver spread
- 2 cups water
- 2 potatoes, quartered
- 1 large carrot, sliced
- 3/4 cup Spanish green olives (optional)
- 3/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the vinegar, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Marinate the goat meat for at least an hour to eliminate the smell and taste of the meat in the refrigerator. Reserving the liquid, remove the goat meat from marinade.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pot (or casserole) over medium heat. Fry potatoes and carrots until lightly brown. Remove and set aside.
Stir-fry the marinated goat meat; cook until lightly brown all in the same pot. Remove and set aside.
Add remaining 1/4 cup oil to pot. Sauté the garlic and onion until fragrant and translucent. Add chili flakes (if using) and tomatoes; stir-fry until wilted. Return goat meat and accumulated juices to pot. Pour tomato sauce and liver spread; stir and simmer for 2 minutes.
Add water and bring to boil then simmer for an hour or until the meat is tender. (You may add more water if the sauce seems to dry up, a little at a time.) Stir occasionally.
Add potatoes, carrots and green olives (if using). Cook and simmer until tender, about 6 minutes. Season salt and pepper to taste. Add bell peppers, cook for another 2 minutes.
Cooking is great as the basics are easily taught but never forget to cook according to your taste. For Philippine Cuisine, there are lots of information on Filipino recipes but it takes real passion to satisfy one’s taste.