Google “pressure cooker deaths” and you might read at least one incident where obviously, somebody died because of a pressure cooker.
Growing up, I’ve heard a lot of weird stories from my dad and grandfather, mostly about ghosts and pressure cookers (yeah). I can vividly remember my grandfather telling me a tragic story of a couple about to get married. The girl, dutiful and loving, was cooking a meal for her husband-to-be using her pressure cooker. But for some reason it exploded and the force was strong enough to send the pieces flying in all directions, and the girl was impaled. She died. The end. Yeah in retrospect this story sounds bizarre and twistedly funny.
Well, the point I’m trying to drive at, as you probably already guessed, is that kitchen appliances can be freakishly deadly in a Final Destination sort of way.
Paranoia aside, today I did use the pressure cooker and I didn’t die. Handling it was tricky because my dad treats it like a child ready to scream. To prevent any accidents, he turns off the heat and waits a few minutes to let the pressure ease out. Then he brings the whole thing to the sink and places it under running water. He slowly pulls the whistling nozzle (whatever it is) to further release the pressure. Once the nozzle doesn’t whistle anymore, it’s safe to open. It’s not exactly rocket science but we can categorize it together with the intricacies of dismantling explosives.
But whatever it took to calm the pressure cooker down, I got to make really really good Caldereta today.
Kaldereta/Caldereta, according to a packet of instant Caldereta mix (which I didn’t use!) is a dish of Spanish origin, derived from the Spanish word “caldero” which means cooking pot. This savory dish is prepared with one’s choice of beef, chicken or goat meat stewed in tomato sauce and selected spices.
I got this recipe from The Best of Food Magazine. It’s Food Magazine’s compilation cookbook of their favorite/best recipes. The Chicken Donburi and Siopao I made also came from Food Magazine. They don’t have a website, which is peculiar since they’ve been in circulation since 1995-1996. And they also have a digital version available for the ipad, but no website. Really really weird.
Their caldereta recipe calls for pork liver broiled and mashed. Liver, along with calamansi (Philippine lemon) are two food items I can’t really stomach. There was no way in hell I’m putting a kilo (!) of pork liver in the caldereta. So I just used canned liver spread. ( Right now there’s no use arguing my logic ok? That’s just how I roll )
The preparation is pretty straightforward: boil/pressure cook the meat and make the sauce then put the two together. That’s it. Amazing tender beef swimming in rich, thick tomato sauce.
Beef Caldereta (serves 8 – 10 )
- 2 kilos stewing beef, cut into cubes
- enough water to cover the meat in a pressure cooker
- seven 85-gram cans of liver spread
- 1 block (180 grams) processed cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 cups tomato sauce (I used Italian style spaghetti sauce instead)
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 large red bell peppers, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
- 1 cup pitted green olives
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 head of garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 large white onions, sliced
- 1 chorizo bilbao, sliced
- Put beef in a pressure cooker (or large casserole) and pour enough water to cover. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until beef is tender. When the meat is done, discard/remove the remaining water.
- Combine liver spread with cheese, tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, bell peppers and green olives. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil ans saute garlic, onions and chorizo bilbao. Stir in liver mixture and simmer for about 15 minutes or until mixture turns lighter in color.
- Pour liver mixture into beef in the casserole/pressure cooker and simmer for 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and beef is complete tender. You don’t need to pressure cook it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!