Our childhood memories in Pampanga are mostly filled with celebrations at home, whether it’s one of our birthday parties, the church group of our grandparents, the Soroptomist International group of Mama or the Holy Name Society of Papa.
There would always be something cooking in the kitchen. Our mama, who is fondly called Butchie, would happily be on top of everything, while our dad, Bebot, entertained guests. Fast-forward to now, and I, together with my sisters, never imagined that as office warriors, we would find the same joy as our mom did in the kitchen.
As we move from month to month in this pandemic, we would always find our way to the kitchen on weekends or even weekdays, if work permits. We find comfort during this time in trying out recipes and dressing up the table. We plan and create meals around a theme, decorate the table with a DIY set-up, and eat our food dressed in our house clothes or pajamas.
Learning our home specialties and Mama’s recipes is our way of keeping our family tradition alive. Mom’s signature dishes include macaroni salad, adobong alimango sa taba ng talangka, lechon de pugon and our favorite, her kalitiran.
We grew up thinking this was the name of the dish, only to realize that kalitiran is a part of the beef. It’s the meat that surrounds the foreshanks and hindshanks of a cow. It’s a nice alternative cut for pot roast or beef stew.
Butchie’s kalitiran is a one-pot dish with simple, accessible ingredients slow-cooked for three hours. This stew is light yet full of flavors, a refreshing take on the usual thick and rich variation. It’s best eaten with steaming garlic rice.
As we spend time in quarantine, there’s more reason for home celebrations. Sharing our mom’s beef kalitiran recipe is our way of passing joy from our table to yours.
1 kg kalitiran2 pc onion, medium, chopped 5 pc tomato, small, chopped
4 c water, add if necessary
1 can mushroom, sliced
⅓ c olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c soy sauce
2 pc calamansi
Tenderize meat by piercing it with fork. Marinate the kalitiran with the soy sauce and calamansi mixture. The longer the marination process, the more the meat is tenderized and becomes flavorful.
Heat olive oil in pan and sear the marinated meat until brown to seal in the juices and for depth of flavor. Set aside.
In the same pan, saute onion and tomato for aroma and flavor. Return seared beef and add 4 cups of water. Simmer for 2-3 hours until meat is soft or fork tender. Add more water if necessary.
Once soft, take out meat from pot and slice thinly. Return meat and add mushrooms and simmer for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 7-8 persons.
Variations: Add carrots, potatoes or other vegetables, or add cream. —CONTRIBUTED
The author is an office warrior on weekdays and a home cook on weekends. She is a graduate of the Center for Asian Culinary Studies with a professional degree in classical and modern culinary artistry. She also belongs to the family of one of the oldest bakeries in Pampanga, the 73-year-old La Moderna Bakery.
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