Mechado is a popular dish Philippines that is made out of slowly braised beef and tomatoes, it might look like the other popular Philippine tomato sauce based dishes like Afritada, Kaldereta or Codico but due to the addition of vinegar/lemon juice and soy sauce this gives it a distinct flavour compared to the others. You might also notice that the beef on the picture above have a fat in the middle, this is because this Filipino dish uses a traditional Spanish culinary practice of using cheaper lean beef parts and inserting strips of pork fat in the middle. This method is quite effective in making the cheap cut more tender and juicy compared to the ones without. That pork fat in the middle resembles a wick in the candle which is called “mech-a” in Spanish or “mitsa” in Tagalog, that’s where the name originated from.
To prepare this dish you need to start with the meat, in Philippines you can buy this beef cut with pork fat inserted already in the middle but since I am here in New Zealand I have to do it on my own by cutting a small hole into a long beef log (I used uncut chuck pot roast) using a long slim knife and inserting a 2 cm x 2 cm thick pork fat. Once inserted you have to cut the beef into bite sized pieces and marinate it in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, calamansi juice, crushed garlic and black pepper. The beef have to be marinated for at least a day then it is cooked by slowly braising together with a tomato based sauce and stock until liquid is reduced to a thick and very flavourful gravy.
- 1 kg uncut chuck pot roast, preferably log shaped
- 200 g pork fat, sliced into long strips
- 2 large white onions, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, quartered
- 1 large sized carrot, sliced
- 2 red capsicum, sliced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 large can tomato puree (tomato sauce)
- 3 cups beef stock
- ¼ cup soy sauce, Philippine Soy Sauce no substitutes
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp vinegar
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- juice from 2 lemons
- 1 head garlic, minced
- freshly ground black pepper
- Insert pork fat strips in the middle of beef chuck by cutting an incision in the middle. Once finished cut beef into 1 inch thick pieces then set aside.
- In a zip lock bag combine and mix together all marinade ingredients, add the beef then close the bag. Marinate beef for at least 24 hrs.
- Drain beef from the marinade. Prepare a deep pot and add oil. Add beef and brown on all sides then set aside.
- Add garlic and onions then sauté until onions turn translucent.
- Add in the beef, stock, tomato puree, soy sauce and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes adding water occasionally if needed.
- Deep fry potatoes then set aside.
- Add the vinegar and carrots to the beef pot then simmer for 20 more minutes.
- Add the potatoes and capsicum then simmer for 10 minutes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
You can buy Philippine Soy Sauce in Amazon and here are some links: