If you’re ever thinking about a scrumptious dish to pair with a birthday celebration, a town fiesta, a dedication, or a weekend with the complete family, this can be it.
After all, who wouldn’t want to take even just a small bite of a flavorful beef covered with a nice, and tasty sauce? The warmth of this taste most certainly brings the family even closer than before. That is the Beef Mechado.
This article is set to help you learn how to cook the best Beef Mechado or Mechadong Baka. Whether it’s to impress your loved ones, or just simply want a nice, and hearty meal to spend time with your family, this dish surely won’t disappoint you.
Take a look at what’s in store below and learn some tips and trivia about the popular dish, beef mechado!
What is Beef Mechado?
Mechado is a type of stew popularized here in the Philippines based on the food influences during the Spanish colonization. It is traditionally made of beef chunks paired with pork fat strips, potatoes and carrots, along with a thick sauce made out of tomato, soy sauce, and other seasonings.
The main reason why pork is also used is to complement and bring out the full flavor of the lean beef, since high quality beef is really hard to come by, especially back in the earlier days.
How to make Beef Mechado?
Cooking this dish is as easy as it can be. People usually just get overwhelmed cooking this because of the time it takes for the dish to be finished.
So to make things simpler, we are going to break down this dish into two straightforward processes. One is for the preparation of the ingredients, and one is for the cooking of the ingredients.
For the preparation, it is important that we cut the ingredients in smaller pieces, so that’s the first thing needed to be done. A general recommendation would be to cut the beef into about an inch cubes.
This will make it easier to cook the insides of the meat, and it will also make cooking of the overall meat to be even. Do it to the other ingredients as well, as it is pretty much the same concept.
For cooking, it is just about tossing in the ingredients into the cooking pot one after the other. Once a set of ingredients is done, it is usually an indicator to toss in the next set of ingredients that needs to be cooked. As simple as that.
But do take note that when cooking the beef, it is important that it is cooked until it is tender, and this takes quite a long time as we need to slowly simmer it for it to be really soft. So it is advisable to give some ample time for preparation when cooking this dish.
Mechado vs. Menudo vs. Afritada vs. Caldereta
Mechado is commonly confused with Filipino stews which also utilizes tomato-based sauce. To be fair, it is to be expected because the four of these are almost similar in every way, except for a number of ingredients, which often gets jumbled with one another.
Mechado is traditionally and commonly made with beef and pork fat, and you usually go for a tangier flavor when it comes to cooking these. It also includes the basic carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper, together with the tomato sauce blended with soy sauce.
Menudo is made usually with pork partnered with pork liver, hotdogs, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, with some raisins along with the sauce.
Afritada is traditionally cooked using chicken meat, and one thing I believe is that afritada is made to be creamier than the other tomato-based stews. It’s basic vegetables include bell peppers, carrots, potatoes, and peas.
Caldereta is made with beef (with bones) or goat meat, which utilizes liver spread, carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers along its tomato based sauce.
Notes on Ingredients
For the beef, it is recommended to get the fattier beef because it gives much more flavor to the dish. There are also markets which sell ready made cuts for stews such as this, if you want to make things a little easier and faster.
But if you have the time, it is recommended that you cut them by yourself, so to be sure that the meat will really be evenly cooked.
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Beef Mechado Recipe
- Cooking Pot
- Pressure Cooker (Optional)
- 1 kg beef chuck, sliced into cubes
- 200 g pork fat, sliced into strips
- 1 big potato, sliced into cubes
- 2 pcs carrots, sliced into cubes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 pack (250 g) tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 small green bell pepper, sliced into cubes
- 1 small red bell pepper, sliced into cubes
- 2 pcs bay leaves
- salt and ground pepper, to taste
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- In a cooking pot, apply low to medium heat and pour-in cooking oil. Wait until it gets hot.
- Add-in the sliced potatoes and sliced carrots and cook until it is slightly brown. Set aside.
- Add-in the garlic and onions and saute for 2 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium and add-in the sliced beef and pork strips and let it cook for 5 minutes or until it is light brown.
- Pour-in the soy sauce, tomato sauce and simmer for 1 minute. Then pour-in the water and add-in the bay leaves and let it boil. Simmer the beef in low heat for 60 to 120 minutes, depending on how long until the beef is tender.
- Add-in salt and ground pepper, the sliced potatoes and sliced carrots back, the bell peppers. Stir well and let it simmer in low heat for another 5 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy!
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