What do you do with excess sauce from a pot of meat stew? I cooked kaldereta, I made sure that there was plenty of sauce because my family likes to toss it with rice. It so happened that there was more sauce than we could soak our rice with. What to do with it? Make beef kaldereta spaghetti.
For non-Filipino readers, kaldereta is a spicy tomato-based stew traditionally cooked with goat meat although beef and chicken versions are more popular in the urban areas. Chilies are added for heat and, to thicken the sauce, mashed liver is stirred in towards the end of cooking.
A legacy from our Spanish colonial past and a comfort food for us Filipinos. The long and slow cooking makes the sauce so rich and thick. The addition of liver makes it even more tasty. That’s why it’s such a waste to throw away excess kaldereta sauce.
So, how did I cook my beef kaldereta spaghetti?
Well, first I had to have excess kaldereta sauce. I looked at what was left in the pot, picked out stray bones and discarded them.
(If there are leftover vegetables in your leftover sauce, leave them there. But the larger pieces are better off cut into small cubes.)
I cooked just enough pasta (see how to cook al dente pasta like a pro) in proportion to the amount of sauce I had. I reheated the sauce, added the pasta and tossed.
(If your sauce is on the soupy side, you may even cook the pasta directly in it.)
Now, the obvious thing—there was no more meat in that sauce. Doesn’t the absence of meat make the pasta dish a bit underwhelming or, worse, unexciting? That was where the bacon came in.
While cooking the pasta, I heated another pan and cooked chopped bacon in it until browned and crispy.
When the pasta was done and had been tossed in the sauce, I divided the sauce-coated noodles among bowls. I topped each bowl of beef kaldereta spaghetti with the drained bacon. But I didn’t stop there! I turned the beef kaldereta spaghetti into a complete kickass dish by garnishing it with chopped parsley and shredded cheese.
Now who’s to say that my beef kaldereta spaghetti was made with leftover meat stew sauce?
You can toss pasta with just about any leftover stew sauce
This trick works not just for excess kaldereta sauce but with just about any stew sauce. Try tossing pasta with leftover sauce from any of these stews:
Oh, and yes, even dinuguan.
Use rice instead of pasta
If you’re more into rice than noodles, toss cooked rice in the leftover stew sauce, by all means!
Don’t like rice either? Try this—place a generous scoop of mashed potatoes in a bowl, make a well in the center and pour sauce into the well.
Be imaginative with the toppings
Like I said earlier, noodles (or rice or mashed potatoes) and sauce may be too unexciting for some people even if the sauce is so rich and flavorful. Some people, like my husband and younger girl, simply need their meat. Are bacon bits the only choice? Of course not!
Instead of bacon, try lightly fried rings of spicy sausage (like Spanish chorizo or andouille), or strips of salami, ham or pepperoni.
And don’t forget the shredded cheese and chopped greens. They add color and textural contrast to the dish. After all, the eyes eat first and you want your “leftover” masterpiece to look as appetizing as possible.