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Beef Calderetta- Filipino Meat Stew in Tomato Broth

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I knew there was a special event at home if Beef Calderetta- a Filipino Meat Stew in Tomato Broth was on the menu. I could feel the mad rush going on in the kitchen. There would be a flurry of knives, pots and pans in all sizes brought out, the banging and clanging reaching a feverish pitch as the cooking got busy. Assorted aromas of the patis (fish sauce)  calamansi (Filipino lime),  toyo (soy sauce), vinegars, garlic that all go into Filipino food cooking in woks and cauldrons filled the air.

I was summoned to the kitchen to help. When we had big parties at home, it was always ‘all hands on deck’. My responsibilities were chopping, slicing, mixing . I made the desserts and worked my way up to main entrees as I got older.

One dish was a mainstay: I remember the beef calderetta my mother cooked. The rich, dark red golden brown gravy was thick and coated the tender beef cubes with a sheen so inviting.  Slices of robust red peppers and plump green olives nestled next to the savory potato cubes. To finish it off, a generous garnish of green peas were sprinkled all around. The dish was somewhat spicy and was always good poured on a bed of fragrant jasmine rice.

I am celebrating something special. This is why I cooked this beef calderetta today in my American kitchen. My family was jubilant for me. I had just been awarded a prize. My  essay in PositivelyFilipino.com won First Prize for Food Writing. It was a ‘Plaridel Award’, given by the Philippine American Press Club based in San Francisco, California.

The Philippine American Press  Club (PAPC)   are active members of media, editors, publishers, correspondents of newspapers, magazines, internet broadcast media organizations.

The Plaridel Awards was named after Marcelo H. Del Pilar, a Philippine national hero, journalist and writer whose nom de plume was ‘Plaridel’. He wrote from Europe in the 1800s, keeping his countrymen abreast of all events. The Plaridel Awards honors present day writers who continue to be of service to their countrymen via excellence in journalism.

Allow me to thank my editors at Positively Filipino . Thank you to the Phil-American Press Club and the Plaridel Awards committee. And thank you to you, my dear  readers who follow this blog and my published articles.

The Plaridel Award is a great honor and fills me with much happiness. But what makes it even more wonderful is the fact that you keep giving me the opportunity to bring Filipino cuisine and culture to your tables.

From my kitchen to yours, thank you. And that is meant with all my heart and all the beef calderetta in the world!



Read and enjoy the prize winning essays that won Plaridel Awards in this issue of PositivelyFilipino.com

Beef Calderetta - Filipino Meat Stew in Tomato Broth

Beef Calderetta- Filipino Meat Stew in Tomato broth is a classic Philippine dish of beef cubes, potatoes, peppers, olives which has a rich base of tomato sauces. The beef chunks are made tender by a slow stew over low fire. This enables the tomato flavors to lose their tartness, giving way to a sweet-savory thick gravy. Serve this together with rice. This recipe was slightly adapted from “Let’s Cook with Nora” by Nora Daza and serves 4 to 6.
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Beef Calderetta Stew Tomato Sauce
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 234kcal
Author: Asian in America


  • Large Stock Pot: 10 or 12 quarts


  • 2 pounds beef cubes (from beef round) each 2-inch cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole large onion chopped
  • 1 whole large red bell pepper seeded, white membrane removed, sliced in strips
  • 2 cans (227 grams each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (170 grams or 8 oz.) tomato paste 170 gms or 8 oz. tomato paste
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons Heinz cider vinegar
  • 2 pieces bay leaves
  • 1 cup Spanish green olives pitted, bottled, liquid drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup from Asian markets, Filipino brands or use biscotti or melba toast in place of bread crumbs from biscocho
  • 1/2 cup canned or frozen, thawed, for garnish green peas
  • 6 medium-sized potatoes peeled, quartered
  • 4 pieces biscocho or melba toast crumbled to make bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup green peas for garnish
  • boiled rice for serving


  • Pre-marinate the beef cubes in Worcestershire sauce, salt, black peppercorns, minced garlic. Cover in plastic wrap in a non reactive bowl. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • In a large stock pot, over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Add the beef cubes and pan sear for 1 to 2 minutes evenly on all sides, to seal in the flavors. In the same stock pot, add and saute the garlic (which was in the pre-marinade) and onions till soft for about 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the tomato paste and tomato sauce. Add the beef broth and blend well with the rest of the ingredients. Add the red peppers, vinegar, wine, bay leaves.
  • Place the crushed biscocho (melba toast) crumbs into the broth and blend together with the rest of ingredients. After about 8 to 10 minutes, the broth will boil. Lower to a slow simmer. Cook beef for about 1 ½ to 2 hours or till beef is tender. At the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the potatoes and olives. Cook potatoes till soft.
    (Note: if preferred cook this Beef Calderetta in a slow cooker, set on High for about 6 hours till tender. Potatoes can be added at the last hour). Season with salt and black pepper poweder.
  • Garnish with green peas and additional red pepper slices. Serve with boiled white rice.
  • Cook's comments: Biscocho (similar to melba toast) crushed in crumbs is often used in Filipino cooking to thicken the broth, sauce or gravy. It is also similar to biscotti.
  • Update: To cook in the Instant Pot
    For a faster way to cook the classic Filipino Beef Calderetta, I share a recipe for Instant Pot Beef Calderetta in my newest cookbook "Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother's Traditional Philippine Food in a Multicooker Pot" by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. My cookbook shares traditional Filipino dishes cooked in the Instant Pot. Available on Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle format. Click here to purchase my cookbooks.

Hello, Friends! All the images and content here are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to use my photos or content on your site,cookbooks, videos, TV shows, magazines or other forms of media  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]


    Serving: 1g | Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1275mg | Potassium: 999mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 27.6mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 7.6mg

    Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

    Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-QuirinoBuy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

    Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

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    1. I love listening to your stories about when you were growing up. I think those were our formative years and why we love to cook today. Great little comfort food. Lots of ingredients but I am sure it is worth it.

    2. We live in KSA. unfortunately, wine is a big no-no here..can we cook dis yummy-looking dish outta here without the said ingredient or can u recommend a substitute instead..thank you very much..:) Kind regards..

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