What is a Beef Mechado?
Because the larded beef resembles a candle, the name mechado is derived from the Spanish term mecha, which means “wick.” The phrase was accepted as mitsa in the Filipino language, while the spelling mitsado for the meal is unusual and rarely seen.
Mechado is a braised beef dish from the Philippines that was inspired by the culinary skills of Spain, of whom it was a former colony. It has, however, been modified to suit local preferences. The braising liquid contains aromatics such as garlic, onions, and bay leaves, as well as calamansi juice and soy sauce. Chunks of carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers give color and complexity to the dish.
Beef Mechado is a Filipino-style beef stew that consists of larded beef chunks cooked in tomato sauce with potatoes and carrots. It’s a full and tasty dish that goes nicely with steamed rice.
To guarantee equal cooking, cut the meat bits into uniform sizes. A wick of pork fat should be about two to three inches long.
Pan-fry the potatoes and carrots first until gently browned to protect them from coming apart.
To add flavor, brown the steak in heated oil. To sear correctly, don’t overcrowd the pan and cook in batches as necessary.
Slow and low is the secret to making the tastiest stew. Tougher slices of beef must be cooked over an extended amount of time to break down connective tissues and achieve fork-tenderness. If you speed the cooking process, the result will be a rough and chewy texture.
- 2 pounds chuck roast or top round, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/4 pound pork fat, cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup lemon or calamansi juice
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut a thin incision in the center of each beef cubes and gently insert a strip of pork fat. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the potatoes and carrots are lightly browned. Remove from the pot and pat dry with paper towels.
- Remove oil from the pot except for about 2 tablespoons. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes after adding the lemon or calamansi juice and soy sauce.
- Pour in the tomato sauce, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, scraping any scum that may rise to the surface.
- Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the meat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until tender. Add more water in increments of 1/2 cup if necessary if the beef starts to dry up before becoming soft.
- Add potatoes and carrots and continue to cook until potatoes are tender and sauce is reduced.
- Add bell peppers and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until tender-crisp.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.