Short Rib and Foie Gras Caldereta

Shortrib and Foie Gras Caldereta

Caldereta (or Kaldereta if you’re nasty) is an honest to goodness meat stew influenced by both Spain and the United States, but yet remains uniquely Filipino.

Caldereta’s roots in Spain can be found in its Spanish name (of course), but also in its preparation wherein Spaniards braised meat (usually mutton) and vegetables in a tomato-based sauce. Filipinos began making their own version of their colonizer’s stew by utilizing goat meat and then thickening the tomato sauce with mashed pork livers (take that Spain!).

And with the American occupation of the Philippines came all the trappings of post-war convenience foods and canned goods. Soon, the likes of tomato paste, canned tomato sauce, canned pork liverwurst, and even processed cheese, all made their way into Caldereta (this all tastes a lot better than it sounds).

While I do love a warm and hearty bowl of goat kaldereta thickened with liverwurst (seriously, I do), I have tried to fancify the dish once before by making a wonderful version with beef, red wine, and a homemade chicken liver pate. And although I was quite pleased with that version, I’ve since found that nothing beats caldereta thickened with canned liverwurst. But there is always room for experimentation.

So when my older brother recently returned from a trip to Europe and gifted me a couple cans of foie gras, the first thing that popped into my head wasn’t to eat the foie with toast points and some sort of sweet/sour fruit–it was Caldereta.

Yes, I was going use fancy canned foie gras in place of the usual $2 can of pork liverwurst in my Caldereta. This was either going to be the greatest beef stew ever made, or a complete waste of foie gras.


Now entering the game for Steve Urkel…

Foie Gras

…Kobe Bryant

Like many other cultures around the world, Filipinos have been eating nose-to-tail since, like, forever. So the use of pork livers as a sauce thickener isn’t anything out of the ordinary for us. Pork livers also pop up in Pinoy dishes like Igado, a pork and liver stew. And we also utilize pork livers in a sweet-ish sauce used for dipping lechon and lechon kawali. But fancy pants duck liver?

I realize that there may be some foie gras lovers out there that would gasp at the thought of throwing the prized duck liver into a homey stew like Caldereta. Egads man! What are you doing with that foie!

But it’s not like I was using an actual lobe of duck liver, or even a homemade torchon de foie gras–rather, it was merely prepared foie gras in a can ($15-$20 for a 250g can). And besides, I was gifted two cans. So I rationalized that not all would be lost if things went horribly wrong with this experiment.

Luckily, nothing was lost.

To make this fancier-pantsier version of Caldereta, I used beef short ribs rather than the chuck I used previously. I browned the short ribs in a big Dutch oven and then set them aside. I then sauteed some onions, carrots, and garlic with some red pepper flakes in the same Dutch oven for a few minutes until the veggies softened, then threw in a hefty tablespoon of tomato paste and let that cook for another 5 minutes.

I then dumped in a cup of red wine to deglaze the pot, and let the wine reduce for a few minutes. Then to the pot came a small can of tomato sauce, and a bay leaf, and only half of the can of foie gras (about 125g). After breaking up the foie with a spoon and stirring it into the sauce, I returned the browned ribs back to the pot, added just enough water to cover the ribs, and let the whole shebang simmer for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, I took the ribs out of the pot and reduced the sauce over high heat for about 10 minutes. Then, I took my trusty stick blender and blended the sauce until it was nice and smooth and all of the veggies and foie had become one. In went some diced red and green bell peppers (these remained unblended for some texture), some salt and pepper, and the ribs again.

I also sliced up the rest of the foie gras (I only used half a can in the sauce, remember?) and served some slices alongside the short ribs.

Voila, short rib and foie gras caldereta. Deathly rich and meaty for sure.

Short Rib and Foie Gras Caldereta

Foie on the side, foie in the sauce

The ribs were incredibly tender as expected after braising for three hours. The richness of the foie gras was not lost amidst the spicy tomato sauce. The flavor of foie gras can’t be described unless you’ve had it before, but I like to think it’s akin to meat-flavored butter, or maybe butter-flavored meat, but way better.

And that sauce! It was unbelievably rich with duck liver, but still had some spiciness from the pepper flakes, and sweetness from the carrots–without overpowering the wonderful tomato base. And best of all, it was still an undeniably comforting Caldereta–fancy pants or not. Even after all the short ribs were consumed, there was still so much of that luxurious sauce that I simply ate it with some rice the next day.

This little experiment was among the best calderetas I’ve enjoyed, but something I probably won’t make again considering the cost (although I do have one more can at my disposal, hmmm). And it was indeed an untraditional pairing to foie gras that I’m sure is making some French dude curse me as he reads this (je suis désolé, my man).

  • Elizabeth of September 14, 2011, 5:43 pm

    Oh my goodness, this Kaldereta looks so yummy! I can just imagine the flavors on a mound of white steamed rice! Delish!

  • Tracey@Tangled Noodle September 14, 2011, 5:53 pm

    So *sosyal*! I want some right now… It would be such a shame if you were never to make one of ‘the best calderetas [you’ve] enjoyed’ again. We’ll just have to pool together to keep you well-stocked in foie gras! 😎

  • Krizia September 14, 2011, 7:36 pm

    Oh man, how do you come up with this stuff? Bravo! I wish I could taste it! Hope the family is well :)

  • Belinda @zomppa September 14, 2011, 8:42 pm

    I can only imagine the depth of these flavors!

  • freecallsphilippines September 15, 2011, 8:59 pm

    wow. what a great post. i wish i could taste it too! :)

  • Joy September 16, 2011, 7:35 am

    That looks so so good.

  • Sheila September 16, 2011, 12:52 pm

    Haha! You can definitely serve this foie gras caldereta in a fancy pansy restaurant. It will definitely put Filipino cuisine on a par with French cuisine. =)

  • Steve September 16, 2011, 1:00 pm

    Now I’ll have to undertake a search for some local foie gras, which will hopefully be a little more economical. Love short ribs, too. Inspired combo. Props to the chef…

  • Karen | Divine Dinner Party September 18, 2011, 2:30 am

    This is so meaty! I like the caldereta version of goat meat and served with steamed white rice. I love your photos Marvin. Well done! :)

  • MrsLavendula September 18, 2011, 10:11 am

    that looks delicious! I love beef caldereta with a bit of kick from being spicy! perfect with steaming hot rice and an ice cold drink!

  • bagito September 18, 2011, 11:26 am

    Yum! Or actually, double yum!! That sounds so good. Did you give baby lumpia a taste? :)

  • BurntLumpia September 21, 2011, 9:46 am

    Hi Elizabeth. It’s definitely great with steamed rice.
    Hey there Tracey! I wouldn’t object to gifts of foie gras;P
    Thanks Krizia. The fam is doing very well:)
    Belinda, there is definitely a lot of different flavors going on in this caldereta–all good!
    Thanks joy.
    That’s the beauty of Filipino food Sheila! It can be homey, or fancy.
    Thanks steve. You can buy canned foie from
    I love goat meat caldereta also Karen.
    You can definitely kick this caldereta up with more chili flakes if you like MrsLavendula.
    Hey Bagito. I did give baby lumpia a taste, though it wasn’t really to his liking.

  • joey September 22, 2011, 12:29 am

    Goodness! That sounds divine and yes you go with the experimentation no matter who is shocked! :) I think our kaldereta deserves some swankifying! 😉

  • BurntLumpia September 26, 2011, 3:02 pm

    Swankifying! I like that! thanks joey!

  • Chito September 27, 2011, 11:06 am

    I’ve used foie gras for caldereta AND adobo since i can remember. If you’ve never had liver in your adobo, it’s a version that’s made in Cavite and Bulacan that’sa lttle more oily than traditional.
    Can’t stand using tomato paste for anything tomato-based. It tastes too much like Pizza Hut pizza sauce.

  • BurntLumpia September 27, 2011, 1:59 pm

    Hi Chito. You’ve always used duck liver in your calderetas and adobos? That’s impressive:) And if you take the time to cook the tomato paste and brown it before adding any liquid, it does wonders.

  • Philippines Lifestyle October 26, 2011, 9:18 pm

    This one looks good, I love caldareta whether it is pork, beef, chicken or duck. I am curious with the goat, someone told me that it was really taste good caldareta.

  • faith October 30, 2011, 11:43 am

    I was thinking of trying a lamb caldereta with foie gras… any thoughts on whether the combination would work? :)

  • Mom of Toddlers January 4, 2012, 6:05 pm

    It looks so very nice! And recipe seems to be easy to follow.


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