(Chicago) -  I have a full slab of pork ribs in my freezer for quite some time and I don’t know what to do with it. The previous slabs became 2 different barbecue variations weeks ago. I wanted to replenish my meat supply really soon so I wanted to get rid of this last piece without doing another barbecue. Isip-isip???

A Pinoy friend invited me to a party and as expected, Filipino food was served. Love the palabok, love the lumpiang shanghai, love the lechon but I hate the beef caldereta. I don’t know where the hell they ordered that thing. I had great caldereta experiences from the Philippines, including those that my mom and aunts made on special occasions. I could not let this party ruin the image of our very own calderata in my memory. So this urged me to whip up something ASAP.

My memory of caldereta is deeply flavored and not just a regular tomato-based stew. Including liver spread and marinating the meat over time prior to cooking, amplify the overall flavor of the dish. And the cheese, yes, the cheese makes the sauce sing. This is how I remembered caldereta should be.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 pounds pork ribs, cut into 2-bone pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 dried Guajillo chili
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small potato, cut into eighths
  • 3-4 small carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 small can liver spread (reno)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small squares
  • 1 cup sweet peas
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Directions:

Combine pork, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves and chili in a container. Mix evenly, cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours.

Put oil in large sauce pan over medium high heat. Saute onion until translucent for 2 minutes. Add the pork and brown each side. Add the marinade, tomato paste and water.  Bring to a boil. Then lower heat to medium, cover and simmer for 35 minutes or until pork is tender. Add ½ cup water if drying up too quickly. Add liver spread, potato and carrot. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Add bell pepper, peas and cheese. Simmer for 5 minutes.

  • And the secret ingredient