Slow Cooker Beef Mechado

Your taste buds are treated to a savory, tangy, and sweet explosion of flavors with this yummy Beef Mechado cooked in the slow cooker! The meat comes out so tender and delicious!

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 well-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!

FOR FULL RECIPE & INSTRUCTIONS and to PRINT, SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW.

NOTES ON INGREDIENTS FOR Beef Mechado

  • Stewing Beef – make sure it has some fat or marbling for extra flavor (like Chuck roast). Slice into 2-inch chunks
  • Cooking oil of choice – use for sauteing beef and aromatics
  • Large Onion or Shallot – chopped
  • Garlic Cloves – peeled and crushed
  • Plum or Roma Tomatoes – chopped
  • Bacon – sliced. Optional if you are using meat with some fat on them. If you prefer to use lean chunks of beef, do add the bacon to enhance the flavor.
  • Red Potatoes – peeled and cubed (roughly the same size as beef chunks)
  • Carrots – peeled and chopped (roughly the same size as potatoes)
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Fish Sauce or Soy Sauce – use a good quality undiluted fish sauce (no additives) like ones made from Thailand or Vietnam.
  • Worcestershire Sauce 
  • Brown Sugar
  • Laurel/Bay Leaves – dried or fresh
  • Red and Green Bell Pepper – chopped (same length as potatoes or carrots)
  • Salt and Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE Beef Mechado

Season the beef chunks with a little salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a wok or Dutch oven. Saute the chopped onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.

Add the seasoned beef and tomatoes and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the beef begins to render some fat. This is how it’s traditionally cooked on the stovetop in the Philippines. The term “sangkutsahin” means to fry meat until slightly or half-cooked. Here the beef is sautéed or fried first until it begins to release some of its fat. This technique adds depth of flavor to the dish so don’t omit, if possible.

If in a hurry or pressed for time, at least sear the beef until nicely browned on all sides

Place the sliced bacon at the bottom of the slow cooker. This is optional if you are using meat with some fat on them. If you prefer to use lean chunks of beef, do add the bacon to enhance the flavor.

Place the sauteed beef and aromatics on top of the bacon. Add the potatoes and carrots. Pour over the tomato sauce, vinegar, and the seasonings (fish sauce, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce plus the sugar).

Give it a quick stir. Insert the dried laurel leaves.  Cook on high for 4 hours or 8 hours on low until the beef is tender to your liking.

Add the bell peppers and cook just until tender but not mushy. Taste and salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately with rice on the side. Drizzle the tasty sauce all over.

Slow Cooker Beef Mechado

Manila Spoon
Your taste buds are treated to a savory, tangy, and sweet explosion of flavors with this yummy Beef Mechado cooked in the slow cooker! The meat comes out so tender and delicious!
4.87 from 22 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Filipino, South East Asian
Servings 8
Calories 305 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2.2 lbs (1 kilo) stewing Beef with some fat on it (like Chuck roast),  cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp Cooking oil of choice
  • 1 Large Onion or Shallot, chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Plum or Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 strips Bacon, chopped (optional but add if using very lean meat)
  • 3 pieces Red Potatoes, peeled and cubed (roughly same size as the meat)
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and chopped (roughly the same size as potatoes)
  • 8 oz Can of Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cup Vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce or Soy Sauce, use a good quality undiluted fish sauce (no additives) like ones made from Thailand or Vietnam
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce 
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar, or to taste
  • 2 pieces Laurel/Bay Leaves, dried or fresh
  • 1 piece each halved Red and Green Bell Peppers, chopped (same length as potatoes or carrots)
  • Salt and Pepper, adjust to taste

Instructions
 

  • Season the beef chunks with a little salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a wok or Dutch oven. Saute the chopped onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat. 
  • Add the seasoned beef and tomatoes and continue to cook for approximately 6-8 minutes or until the beef begins to render some fat. This is how it’s traditionally cooked on the stovetop in the Philippines. The technique "sangkutsahin" is applied which means to fry the meat until slightly cooked and begins releasing its juices. Here the beef is sautéed or fried first until it begins to render some of its fat. This technique adds depth of flavor to the dish so don’t omit, if possible. If in a hurry or pressed for time, at least sear the beef until nicely browned on all sides.
  • Place the sliced bacon at the bottom of the slow cooker. The use of bacon is optional if you are using meat with some fat on them. If you prefer to use lean chunks of beef, do add the bacon to enhance the flavor. 
  • Place the sauteed beef and aromatics including any liquid that accumulates on top of the bacon. Add the potatoes and carrots. Pour over the tomato sauce, vinegar, and the seasonings (fish sauce or soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce plus the sugar). Give it a quick stir. Insert the dried laurel leaves.  Cook on high for 4 hours or 8 hours on low until the beef is tender to your liking.
  • Add the bell peppers and cook just until tender but not mushy. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately with rice on the side. Drizzle the tasty sauce all over.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 26gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 502mgPotassium: 715mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 4575IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 3mg
Keyword slow cooker beef mechado
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Last updated on March 7th, 2023 at 09:40 pm

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11 Comments

  1. Mayuri Patel
    March 1, 2022 / 11:34 pm

    5 stars
    Interesting to read a bit about larding the meat. So many different techniques are used for cooking meat and making sure it remains succulent. An interesting recipe and a hearty meal.

  2. Mahy
    March 2, 2022 / 10:19 am

    5 stars
    This was so good! Just pure comfort food in a bowl! My family loved it and we’ll be having it on repeat!

  3. Sandhya Ramakrishnan
    March 2, 2022 / 12:30 pm

    5 stars
    Slow cooking brings out so much flavor and this is such a comforting stew with rice.

  4. Natalie
    March 2, 2022 / 2:23 pm

    5 stars
    I usually cook stews for weekends. I will definitely add this recipe to my menu, for St. Patrick’s. It looks really delicious.

  5. Angela
    March 3, 2022 / 11:12 am

    5 stars
    I had never made this before, but I love a good beef stew, so thought I would give it a try. I really enjoyed the added flavors from the fish sauce and vinegar…will definitely be making this again!!

  6. October 24, 2022 / 9:31 pm

    5 stars
    I made this last night. I was nervous because it was my first time cooking for my date but it was absolutely delicious! We loved it. So so good and easy to make.

    • abigail
      Author
      October 26, 2022 / 4:47 pm

      So glad to know you tried and enjoyed this!b Thank you so much for letting us know.

  7. Jeanne
    March 6, 2023 / 2:45 pm

    What does it mean, “one piece each red and green bell peppers” — a slice of pepper? Half the pepper?

    • abigail
      Author
      March 7, 2023 / 9:39 pm

      Halved – I updated it. Thank you for asking.

  8. May
    June 22, 2023 / 2:29 am

    What kind of vinegar did you use? Regular vinegar or the cane vinegar from the Philippines?

    • abigail
      Author
      June 22, 2023 / 9:34 pm

      You can use whatever you have. I always have rice vinegar so that’s what I use. Enjoy!

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