Cooking Mechado A Filipino Beef Stew

Mechado is a classic Filipino beef stew known for its rich, tangy tomato sauce and tender pieces of beef, often larded with strips of pork fat to enhance flavor and moisture. This dish is a staple in Filipino cuisine, drawing influence from Spanish culinary traditions, as evident in its name derived from “mecha,” meaning wick, referring to the larding technique traditionally used. Modern versions of Mechado have evolved to include potatoes, carrots, and sometimes bell peppers, making it a hearty and comforting meal perfect for family gatherings or special occasions.

 

The journey to perfecting my Mechado recipe was a heartfelt homage to my Filipino heritage and a desire to recreate the flavors of my grandmother’s kitchen. After several attempts and adjustments to capture the essence of her cooking, the aroma and taste of the stew finally transported me back to my childhood, where Mechado was a celebratory dish, shared and savored during family reunions.

Serving this dish to my family and friends not only sparked joy and nostalgia but also ignited conversations about our shared cultural heritage and the stories behind our favorite dishes. This Mechado recipe has since become a way to connect with my roots and share the rich flavors of Filipino cuisine with others.

Why You’ll Love Mechado Filipino Beef Stew

  • Deeply Flavorful: A savory and slightly tangy sauce enriches the tender beef.
  • Comforting: Perfect for cozy nights, offering warmth and satisfaction in every bite.
  • Cultural Experience: Provides a taste of Filipino cuisine’s rich history and culinary influences.
  • Versatile: Can be served with rice, bread, or on its own, making it a flexible addition to any meal.

Ingredients Notes For Mechado Filipino Beef Stew

  • Beef: Chuck or round cut, traditionally larded with pork fat, but modern versions may skip this step.
  • Soy Sauce & Lemon Juice: Used to marinate the beef, adding depth and a hint of tanginess.
  • Tomato Sauce: Forms the base of the stew’s rich sauce.
  • Vegetables: Potatoes and carrots add heartiness, while bell peppers add a sweet contrast.
  • Bay Leaves & Peppercorns: Infuse the stew with aromatic flavors.
  • Liver Spread or Liver Paste: Adds a unique richness to the sauce, a secret ingredient in many Filipino stews.

Recipe Steps

  1. Marinate the Beef: Combine beef, soy sauce, and lemon juice in a bowl. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Brown the Beef: In a pot, heat oil and brown the marinated beef on all sides. Set aside.
  3. Sauté: In the same pot, sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add the beef back to the pot.
  4. Simmer: Pour in tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the beef is tender.
  5. Add Vegetables: Add potatoes and carrots. Cook until tender. Add bell peppers and liver spread, simmering until the sauce thickens.
  6. Serve: Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot with steamed rice or your choice of side.

Storage Options

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze in airtight containers for up to 1 month. Thaw and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

 

Cooking Mechado A Filipino Beef Stew

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Author: Maria

Ingredients

  • Beef chuck or round: 2 lbs 900g, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Soy sauce: 1/4 cup for marinating the beef
  • Lemon juice or vinegar: 2 tablespoons for marinating the beef
  • Vegetable oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic: 4 cloves minced
  • Onion: 1 large sliced
  • Potatoes: 2 large peeled and quartered
  • Carrots: 2 medium sliced into rounds
  • Canned diced tomatoes: 14 oz 400g or fresh tomatoes, diced
  • Tomato sauce: 1/2 cup
  • Beef broth or water: 2 cups
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Red bell pepper: 1 sliced into strips
  • Green peas: 1/2 cup optional
  • Salt and pepper: to taste

Instructions

Marinate the Beef:

  • In a bowl, combine the beef cubes with soy sauce and lemon juice or vinegar. Mix well and marinate for at least 30 minutes, or for better flavor, leave it in the refrigerator overnight.

Brown the Beef:

  • Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Remove the beef from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and brown the beef on all sides. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Set the browned beef aside.

Sauté the Aromatics:

  • In the same pot, add a bit more oil if needed. Sauté the garlic and onion until translucent and fragrant.

Simmer the Beef:

  • Return the browned beef to the pot. Add the reserved marinade, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth or water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender.

Add Vegetables:

  • Once the beef is tender, add the potatoes and carrots. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are cooked, about 20 minutes. Add more broth or water if the stew is getting too thick.

Final Touches:

  • Add the red bell pepper strips and green peas (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until the bell peppers are tender but still crisp.

Serve:

  • Remove the bay leaves. Serve the Mechado hot with steamed rice, enjoying the rich flavors of the sauce with the tender beef and vegetables.

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