Mechado.....mmmmm. Mechado masarap (too delicious!) is probably what you would hear a Filipino jokingly say when he tastes a really good Mechado dish. The expression is a play on the word "masyado" which means too much or over the top while "masarap" means, as you may have guessed, "delicious."
The name Mechado originated from the Spanish word "mecha" which means wick. Traditionally, a lean cut of beef is larded by inserting bits of pork fat in it to add moisture, flavor and succulence to an otherwise dry piece of meat (like an artificial marbling). The pork fat sticking out looks like a wick
(the "mecha") coming out of the beef (the "candle") hence the name - Mechado. The larded meat is then simmered slowly in seasoned tomato sauce and served with the sauce it was cooked in. You can google "larding meat/beef" if you wish to know more about this old culinary technique. I read they did this in the Philippines during the Spanish colonization and perhaps thereafter because a good marbled beef was quite expensive in those days so they had to devise a way to use cheaper cuts of beef and turn it into something tender and yummy.
Thankfully, we no longer have to apply that kind of technique as some fattier kind of beef is now accessible and cheap(er). Things seem to be in reverse now, in fact, as leaner beef seems to be more expensive. Anyway, whenever I make a stew I always get the cut with a little fat (like the chuck roast) because they are perfect with long slow cooking and the meat doesn't dry out because the little fat in there provides the moisture and yes, loads of flavor, too.
The Mechado was well-loved and well-received by my family especially my husband and my kids didn't complain and ate a lot, too. I was hoping we would have left-overs for the next day - but it must have been so good that it was all gone in one sitting. Please enjoy and hope you love this as much as we do!
Beef MechadoBy: Manila Spoon
June 12, 2015
Deliciously tender chunks of beef slowly simmered in tomato sauce flavored with Asian seasonings. Your taste buds are treated to a savory, tangy and sweet explosion of flavors!
- 2.2 lbs / 1 kilo stewing Beef with some fat on it (like Chuck roast) cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 Plum tomatoes, chopped
- 2-3 pieces of dried Laurel/Bay leaves
- 4 Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1/4 cup Vinegar (or Calamansi/Lemon juice)
- 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce or Soy Sauce
- 2 cups Water
- 8-10 Baby potatoes (may be halved depending on size)
- 3 Medium carrots, peeled and chopped (roughly the size of baby potatoes)
- 1 large Onion, chopped
- 1 large red Bell Pepper, chopped (same length as potatoes or carrots)
- 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce or to taste
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Brown sugar or to taste
- In a deep pan place the beef chunks, tomatoes, vinegar, fish sauce or soy sauce, garlic and laurel leaves. Pour the water in. Bring to a boil.
- Cover and then simmer on low and cook until the beef chunks are tender about 1-1 1/2 hours.
- When the beef is tender add the potatoes, carrots and onions. Cook for another 10-15 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are almost cooked.
- Add the chopped bell peppers and the tomato sauce. Stir, cover and cook until all the vegetables are tender. You can cook it uncovered during the last few minutes if you wish for a thicker sauce. Adjust the seasoning by adding brown sugar (to balance out the flavors) and, if needed, extra salt, soy or fish sauce and freshly ground pepper, to taste.
- Serve with Jasmine rice and with a drizzle of that delicious sauce on top! Masarap!
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour and 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour and 45 Minutes
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