Mechado is a popular dish Philippines that is made out of slowly braised beef lardoned with fat in the middle then cooked in tomatoes and spices
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.