Without a doubt, the best Kalderetang Kambing I have ever cooked or tasted. But I guess I should disclose that I have never cooked it before. :) This stew was slightly gamey so you knew it was goat, but the meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender, coated in a spectacular sauce — thick, tasty, slightly spicy and unbelievably good with rice or mopped up with crusty french bread.
A couple of days ago, I spied some frozen goat meat imported from Australia in the chillers at S&R. I bought two packages with perhaps a kilo each worth of meat and bones. I figured if I was going to attempt my first ever kalderetang kambing, then I was going to do it with farm raised and hygienically slaughtered meat. I have had some local goat before, in fact even some young ones we raised organically on our own property as well, and they were a bit too gamey for me, not to mention on the skinny side.
I didn’t have a recipe for KK, and my mom never cooked this at home, but I have had it on several occasions in restaurants or homes of relatives, and knew what I WAS LOOKING for in a finished product. So I perused a few on-line recipes, searched through some of my cook books, and decided I had the underlying concept understood and hit the kitchen with no concrete recipe in mind. My view was this was a basic stew, with a few local twists, and I was going to wing it. Relatively confident, I even invited two friends over for dinner, but warned them that a failed experiment would mean some take-out pizza as the alternative.
Many recipes soak the meat in vinegar, salt and pepper overnight before browning, but I was in a hurry, and counting on the meat not being too tough or gamey, and skipped this step. Instead, I patted the meat dry of moisture, drizzled some red wine vinegar on the goat meat, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper and let this rest for just 5 minutes while I got an enameled casserole on the heat. Add some olive oil to the hot casserole, then brown the goat meat in batches and let the pieces rest on a platter. Add a bit more olive oil, and sauté say 2 medium sized white onions coarsely chopped, two large ribs of celery chopped, 15 whole peeled shallots (they are small here), and say 6 cloves of garlic smashed. Season with salt and pepper. After a minute or two of gently stirring this all around, add say 1.5 cups of red wine (I used a very good Margaux, leftovers from a previous dinner) and let this reduce for 1 minute or so. Next, I added a bottle (say 4 cups) of passata or tomato puree, a bit of water (just to wash out the bottle of tomato sauce) and about 3/4 of a can of beef broth. Let this come to a boil, throw in a bay leaf or two, then add the goat meat. Stir and let this “gurgle”, covered in the casserole for 3+ hours until the meat is tender. We cooked our pot of KK for a total of 3.5 hours.
I realize the addition of wine is a major departure from a local kalderetang kambing recipe, but bear with me until you see the results. If you don’t want to use wine, just add more water or broth.
About 45 minutes before the dish is finished, add two de-seeded and chopped red bell peppers, 2-3 carrots peeled, chopped, 2-3 potatoes, peeled and chopped, two chopped siling labuyo (bird’s eye chilies) and two tablespoons of reno liver spread to thicken and flavor the sauce. You can add say 20 green olives now, which I did, but you can also leave them out if you desire. Just before serving, add some fresh or frozen peas. Add more broth if it looks like its getting too thick. Season throughout with salt and pepper to get just the right balance of salty, piquant, spicy, etc.
This first-time ever pot of KK turned out BRILLIANTLY. Absolutely delicious. Our guests, Canadians, thought it was the cat’s meow. We finished a huge platter full of the stew. Guests had it with a crisp baguette from Kayser, while I had it with steamed rice. Would definitely make this again. Now if only S&R had a steady supply of good quality goat meat!
This dish, served in a foreign setting, would trump many stews by far, and I am pretty sure would win the hearts of locals and foreigners alike. Crossover pinoy food at its best. Delicious and incredibly satisfying.