Every country and culture posses a comfort food, and the Philippines is not left out with its delicious Beef Mechado recipe.
This is one cuisine that Filipino beef stew comes with an amazing depth of flavor. It is no surprise why it is one of the most popular spicy stews in the Philippines. Its popularity has made it a household name among Filipino families.
This is one cuisine you can’t miss on special days, occasions or weekends in the Philippines. As is typical of most Filipino-style cuisine, the Beef Mechado is not just delicious but filling and is a perfect pair with steamed rice.
What is Mechado?
The word Mechado sterns from the Spanish root word, Mecha which translates to “wick”. This in turn is the reason for the name of the stew where you have a strip of pork fat sticking out of beef as is typical of a candle. This is achieved by inserting lard or pork fat strips into lean cuts of meat, which in this case is beef. Though I didn’t do this in my recipe since pork is not legally available here in Saudi.
This technique is typical of the Spanish cooking process and practice. Where they lard inexpensive cuts of meats with strips of pork back fat. Since the dish was born during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, hence the adoption of the technique. But, this technique is partly responsible for its flavorful and tender nature.
The Evolution of Beef Mechado
One culture known for its constantly changing practices is the Philippines. History has it that a good number of Filipino foods have been influenced and changing throughout history; and Mechado is not left out.
Over the years the cooking technique has been adapted to suit the taste of the locals. Every household has their preference. Before this time, the basic ingredients used were: larded chunks of beef braised in tomato sauce with carrots and potatoes.
As a result of more availability of ingredients, many variants to this stew have evolved. Even though Beef remains the most popular and traditional meat used, it can now be made with pork, chicken, goat, fish, etc.
How Healthy Is Beef Mechado?
Beef Mechado is no doubt known for its very appealing sight and great taste. But, it is important to acknowledge that it is also a nutrition powerhouse and thus offers a lot of benefits for our body. This is all thanks to the beef mechado ingredients used in its preparation.
This is of course the primary ingredient of this aromatic cuisine. We already know that it contains protein that works to build the body’s muscle mass and repair tissues. It is also rich in B vitamins which directly impacts your brain function, energy levels, and cell metabolism.
It also contains zinc which helps to boost your immune system which in turn is fortified and helps to fight against bacteria and viruses.
This veggie is rich in protein and calcium, which in turn helps in muscle mass build-up and maintaining your strong bones respectively. It also contains quercetin, which is a dietary supplement ingredient.
Onions are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well. For instance, it contains vitamin B which impacts greatly on the body’s metabolism. Not to forget the presence of Potassium that helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure and proper muscle function.
Garlic is one vegetable that contains the trace mineral known as manganese. This chemical element does a lot in improving a lot of our bodily functions.
It helps to manage and regulate blood sugar levels, metabolism of the bones, proper enzymic functioning, and absorption of nutrients, and so on. It contains antioxidants that help to fight against free radicals and prevent bodily deterioration.
With garlic present in your food and your body at large, you can be sure that illnesses such as common cold and flu will be far from you. Garlic generally helps to reduce inflammation and naturally remedies symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Carrot as a root vegetable has in the past been termed the perfect health food. It is loaded with antioxidants from beta carotene. With the presence of substances such as carotenoids in carrots, your body is shielded against heart disease and several kinds of cancer.
They are also a good source of vitamins such as vitamin A, B6, and K1, biotin, and potassium. These chemical elements help the body to function well. For instance, Vitamin A promotes the health of your eyes, potassium helps to control blood pressure, Vitamin K1 promotes bone and improves the coagulation of blood.
Generally, the carrot is known to improve and boost the lung strength of older people.
Potatoes have always been known as a nutritious vegetable chock-full of essential minerals and vitamins that help in supporting the body, improving its energy levels, and boosting its immunity.
They are loaded with phytonutrients such as caffeic acid, flavonoids, and carotenoids which help to promote bodily function and health. They are fondly referred to as nature’s natural defense against health hazards such as infections and illnesses.
Potatoes are veggies you want to go for when you seek a nutritious, warming, and cheap treat, say during winter.
How To Cook Beef Mechado
- 1 1/2 lb Chuck roast or top round, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup Oil
- 2 Medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 Medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 Onion, peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup Lemon or calamansi juice
- 1/4 cup Soy sauce
- 1 cup Tomato sauce
- 2 cups Water
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 Small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
- 1 Small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Over a medium temperature heat, put oil in the oil, and allow to heat.
- Add veggies such as carrots and potatoes. When it gets tender and slightly browned, remove and then drain.
- Reduce the amount of oil in the pan to around 2 tbsp and add onions and garlic. Stir occasionally and allow to cook until soft.
- Add the beef and stir and allow it to cook until it gets lightly browned.
- Add lemon or calamansi juice and soy sauce. Allow the mixture to cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and water and allow it to boil. Remove scum that floats.
- Reduced heat, add bay leaves, and allow to cook until the beef gets tender. This should take about 2 hours. Add water as needed.
- Add potatoes and carrots into the mix and continue cooking.
- When the potatoes get tender, add bell peppers and allow to cook for about 2 more minutes
- Add seasonings such as salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot, alongside steamed rice.
Final Words On How To Cook Mechado
You will agree with me, after coming in contact with Beef Mechado, that it will take some sort of superpowers in resisting such an eye-appealing and great tasting Filipino dish.
If you have ever wanted to try out a Filipino recipe, this is my personal recommendation for you to begin with. I am a lover of good food, and this Filipino-style beef stew makes my top list of favorite Filipino foods. If you love good food too, I am confident you would feel the same after having your first taste.
I hope the information contained in this article was valuable? If you have questions about the beef mechado recipe, I would gladly welcome your questions. Kindly drop them using the comment section. In case you have had a taste of this beef stew, feel free to share your experience.
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