How to Cook the Best Beef Mechado

Whenever there’s a celebration, I know that “food” is the first thing that comes in our mind. That’s the time where you can taste various dishes without spending a dime! 

And with every celebration, you can expect that Beef Mechado is always present on the dining table to pull in visitors with its flavorful aroma. It might take a bit of superpowers to resist eye appealing Filipino dish.

The reds, the greens, the yellows, the oranges, the brownish sauce and the aroma that pulls everybody in, so who in the world can resist this very tempting dish? For sure, it’s not us (and you). 

But it’s not all about colors, you know, Beef Mechado is a vitamin powerhouse that can bring dozens of benefits for our body. 


What Is Authentic Filipino Beef Mechado

Filipinos are accustomed to using the name Mechado daily, but only a few know that it originated from the Spanish word “mecha” means ‘wick’ because the pork fat sticking out looks like a wick.

It turns out that the words “Mitsa” (found in a candle) and “Mechado” are related to each other. (fascinating, isn’t it?)

beef mechado with potatoes and carrots in a bowl
(Photo Credits to: Tara’s Multicultural Table)

The old culinary technique of Beef Mechado is larding meat. It is a cooking technique wherein you are inserting strips or pieces of fat inside the meat that doesn’t have enough fat, and it is necessary because once the fat is melted by the heat, it prevents the meat from drying out by exposure to air.


How Healthy Are the Beef Mechado Ingredients?

You can utilize different ways and methods to get this most-awaited dish done. From the traditional to the most advanced form, we have considered many variables to list our featured stew’s most applicable technique.

ONION

  1. Contains calcium to maintain your strong bones
  2. Is high in protein that is important for building muscle mass
  3. Has quercetin, an ingredient that acts as a dietary supplement

Onions also have health benefits such as: 

  1. Low in calories but full of minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
  2. Rich in Vitamin B that plays an important role in our metabolism, (but can quickly destroy when you drink alcohol) 
  3. One of the right sources of potassium that helps our muscles work and keeps your blood pressure healthy.

GARLIC

  1. Contains manganese that has a function of regulating the levels of blood sugar. Once you fail to consume this mineral, it can affect your body’s management of blood sugar.
  2. Garlic supplements can possibly reduce total and LDL cholesterol low-density lipoproteins, particularly in those who have high cholesterol, but don’t worry, your good cholesterols are safe.

Here are more benefits you can gain from garlic: 

  1. It can naturally remedy Premenstrual syndrome symptoms (including emotional tension and fluid retention).
  2. It helps reduce inflammation.
  3. It helps prevent and reduce common illnesses like the flu and the common cold.

BEEF

  1. It contains protein that helps repair skin tissues and muscle building.
  2. It has an essential mineral that our liver and bone marrow need.
  3. It contains Iron that is needed for dietary compounds.

Here are its health benefits: 

  1. It gives you to have double iron than ordinary people.
  2. It can improve your exercise performance.
  3. It can help you to prevent anemia.

CARROTS

  1. It has beta carotin that is rich in antioxidants.
  2. It is composed of water and carbohydrates.
  3. It contains pectin that forms soluble fiber while insoluble fibers can reduce the risk of constipation.
  4. It has an antioxidant that converts into vitamin A.

Carrots is equipped with health benefits such as:

  1. Improving your eye health.
  2. Helping older people to restore their lung strength.
  3. Helping you to reduce weight. 

POTATOES

  1. It contains 66-99% Carbohydrates, it is composed of starch.
  2. It has vitamin B6 that is assigned to the formation of red blood cells.
  3. It has natural nutrients that can defend you against insect bites.

Potatoes have health benefits like: 

  1. It gives an economical, warming and nutritious treat in winter.
  2. It prevents osteoporosis.
  3. It maintains heart health.
  4. It reduces the risk of infection.

Top Variations of Recipes

It is a given that the Pinoys are very resourceful and function as excellent chefs. Furthermore, their versatility and the consideration of different variables why other countrymen could not follow the typical list of ingredients made them think and provide feasible alternatives.

Spicy Filipino Version

If you want to add some kick of spice to your recipe, why not add chili powder or chilis? This ingredient will further add flavor and enhance your dish’s taste that will make you ask for more cups of rice. This variation is prevalent and is mostly served during fiestas, birthdays, or holidays.

Chicken cuts as the main ingredient

Are red meats not your cup of tea? Then, it would be best if you switched to chicken instead of pork and beef meat. Apart from the fact that it is a healthier choice, it is also somehow cheaper, making it an excellent alternative to traditional recipes’ main ingredient. 

Pork Version

Some people do not eat beef because of its strong odor, so they prefer pork as the main ingredient. It is relatively cheaper than the meat, but it can provide the same luscious flavor that you will surely make you await and anticipate for it the next time.

Fish Version

Sure, there are times that we have tight budgets. But let that not be a hindrance in savoring something delicious and flavorful during your meal. You still can experience the tasteful goodness of our dish by replacing the beef or chicken with fish. You will also save electricity or gas because fish gets tender faster than meat. A very wholesome substitute, indeed!

Yummy Vegan Version

Do you have a preference for a healthy lifestyle? Then this vegan version of our highlighted dish is recommended for you. Instead of using red and white meat cuts as your usual main ingredient, try making use of potatoes, carrots, and of course, tomatoes. We recommend that you also saute the garlic, onions in vegetable or olive oil. It will further ensure that all your ingredients used are healthy for you. Eat this variation with bread (pan de sal or wheat slices of bread), and we are sure you will love it.

Seafood Version

If you are craving this savory stew, but all you got in your fridge are several pieces of squids, do not worry because you can turn this into a seafood mechado. What you need are green chiles, tomatoes., onions, and garlic, all chopped. Mix them in a bowl with ground black pepper and salt. Then, inside the squids (whole), stuff this mixture of ingredients.

After that, heat the pan and drizzle some olive oil. Saute the remaining mixture of ingredients that were not stuffed inside the squids. Add tomato paste and saute until the elements are already soft. Pur in the soy sauce and saute again. After a while, arrange the squids on the pan and bring to a boil. While they are boiling, cut some slits on the squids’ bodies. Then add in some bay leaves, sugar, and oyster sauce. Let it simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the squids are already soft and tender for your liking. Finally, arrange the squids on a plate. It is perfect for serving with a bowl of steamed, white rice.


Recipe Trivia

Though this stew dish is very typical and something that we already know and love since we were young, we supposed that there are some more things that you may still realize. 

Important Facts about this Highlighted Dish

  1. This yummy beef stew dish is similar to afritada when preparing and using tomato sauce, potatoes, and carrots. So, if you already know how to make Afritada, it is already effortless to make this very delicious meal treat.
  2. Putting bay leaves (laurel) to have a slightly more powerful flavor can also make this particular dish.
  3. This viand was inspired by Spanish cuisine, but it is similar to Hawaiian red meat stew recipes because of the tomato sauce, red bell peppers, and few other ingredients.

How Healthy Are The Ingredients Of The Excellent Beef Stew Recipes

ONION

red onions
(Photo Credits to: dailyqudrat)
  1. Contains calcium to maintain your strong bones
  2. Is high in protein that is important for building muscle mass
  3. Has quercetin, an ingredient that acts as a dietary supplement

Onions also have health benefits such as: 

  1. Low in calories but full of minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
  2. Rich in Vitamin B that plays an important role in our metabolism, (but can quickly destroy when you drink alcohol) 
  3. One of the right sources of potassium that helps our muscles work and keeps your blood pressure healthy.

GARLIC

two whole garlics
(Photo Credits to: jooinn)
  1. Contains manganese that has a function of regulating the levels of blood sugar. Once you fail to consume this mineral, it can affect your body’s management of blood sugar.
  2. Garlic supplements can possibly reduce total and LDL cholesterol low-density lipoproteins, particularly in those who have high cholesterol, but don’t worry, your good cholesterols are safe.

Here are more benefits you can gain from garlic: 

  1. It can naturally remedy Premenstrual syndrome symptoms (including emotional tension and fluid retention).
  2. It helps reduce inflammation.
  3. It helps prevent and reduce common illnesses like the flu and the common cold.

BEEF

sliced raw beefs
(Photo Credits to: kuulpeeps)
  1. It contains a protein that helps repair skin tissues and muscle building.
  2. It has an essential mineral that our liver and bone marrow needs.
  3. It contains iron that is necessary for dietary compounds.

Here are its health benefits: 

  1. It gives you double iron than ordinary people.
  2. It can improve your exercise performance.
  3. It can help you to prevent anemia.

CARROTS

fresh carrots over blanket and wooden table
(Photo Credits to: new qq)
  1. It has beta carotin that is rich in antioxidants.
  2. It is composed of water and carbohydrates.
  3. It contains pectin that forms soluble fiber, while insoluble fibers can reduce the risk of constipation.
  4. It has an antioxidant that converts into vitamin A.

Carrots are equipped with health benefits such as:

  1. Improving your eye health.
  2. Helping older people to restore their lung strength.
  3. Helping you to reduce weight. 

POTATOES

many whole and fresh potatoes
(Photo Credits to: Agriculturist Nepal blogspot)
  1. It contains 66-99% Carbohydrates; it is composed of starch.
  2. It has vitamin B6 that is assigned to the formation of red blood cells.
  3. It has natural nutrients that can defend you against insect bites.

Potatoes have health benefits like: 

  1. It gives an economical, warming, and nutritious treat in winter.
  2. It prevents osteoporosis.
  3. It maintains heart health.
  4. It reduces the risk of infection.

Helpful Tips When Cooking Beef Mechado Recipe

Though we have listed some troubleshooting tips once you go wrong with this stew’s preparation, you can still somehow, if not wholly, avoid that annoying experience. Following are some tips that might be of help to you in avoiding such.

  • Choose only the freshest ingredients that are, from the meat to the vegetables and spices.
  • If you used an alternative, be aware of the tenderizing time as it is different with every ingredient you used.
  • Cut the meat in equal sizes to make sure that they cook evenly and to avoid some of them being overdone.
  • Avoid adding too many spices in the early process of making this dish if you did not follow any recipe. It is to make sure that your stew doesn’t taste too salty or sour after. Avoiding such will prevent you from troubleshooting it.
  • Using a pressure cooker will not affect the quality of your mechado dish. You can use it to save up t0 70 percent of your time.
  • If you don’t want to use beef as a slice of meat or it is not readily available, you can use pork, chicken, and seafood as alternatives using the same recipe.
  • Avoid adding water as it may cause your dish to become too runny.
  • If you want to make some twist, you can marinate the meat first in lemon or calamansi juice, cracked black pepper, and onions for 2 hours before frying the meat.
  • While you’re frying the beef, you can also add chorizo. It is a type of sausage that adds fat and keeps your entire dish moist and fresh.
  • Adding the vegetables too soon is something you have to avoid as they tend to soften faster than the meat.
  • Avoid rushing this dish as the meat may turn out not tender enough for your liking. The longer you let it boil, the more tender it becomes.

Troubleshooting Your Recipes

Committing mistakes in the kitchen is inevitable and cannot be avoided, especially when you’re not familiar with the food you are trying to prepare. Even the most experienced chefs do come across with them, so you need not worry. Should you encounter some kitchen mishaps, the following are the things and variables you might consider to solve your dilemma.

UNDERCOOKED OR NOT STEWED ENOUGH

Not following the instructions can surely point you in the wrong way. Before removing the food in the pot, and pour it into the bowl, test the pork if it softens, or can be cut with a fork. 

Don’t just trust the time in the manufacturer’s suggestion because the information there isn’t fixed, it always depends on the temperature, the quality of meat,etc. 

Be very careful if you think that the food is not edible yet, and if this is the case,  then continue tenderizing it. Just make sure that you would not accidentally overcook your dish. 

HOW TO FIX A BLAND-TASTING BEEF MECHADO? USE SALT 

It can be frustrating to find out that the Beef Mechado that you’ve worked hard for turns out to be too bland. “Oh no, this can’t be happening!” you might say (or scream). Add to the fact that your visitors are already waiting in the dining table to taste the Mechado you’ve been bragging about for so long.

So what should you do? It might surprise you, but the unassuming salt can literally save the day. Salt, if used right, can bring more flavors to various dishes, especially the bland-tasting ones. A pinch of salt is enough to save your freshly cooked Beef Mechado (and your face to your visitors.) 


Other Recipes or Foods Usually Served With

No man is an island, and the same goes with every dish. Avoid the mistake of serving this delicious stew alone. Considering different variables thus, below is a list of possible Mechado partners that can improve your overall dining experience because of the savoriness that awaits you and your family. Make sure to document your dining experience with them through some shots of selfies.

collage picture of jasmince rice, mung bean stew, pancit with shrimp, fried rice, pandesal bread and macaroni salad
  • Jasmine Rice – drizzling your steamed jasmine rice with that delicious sauce of our highlighted Filipino dish is such a perfect idea for your next meal, be it lunch or dinner. These two blend together in your mouth, the tasty sauce complementing the steamed rice’s slightly bland taste.
  • Sauteed Mung Bean Sprout – Mung bean is a famous Chinese vegetable. Sauteing or stir-frying it to serve with our featured dish is very recommended. The crunchy texture and the slightly sweet taste of mung bean sprouts complement well with the sour taste of our viand. It would be best if you tried it next time, and you will see how utterly delicious and yummy; these two are when eaten together.
  • Pancit with shrimp – Instead of rice, you can consume another type of carbs, and that is the Pancit. Pancit can either be Bihon or Canton. With toppings of stir-fried shrimp, it appears delicious and gives another level of tastefulness. How much more do you think when it is devoured with our featured Filipino dish?
  • Fried rice – If you feel like a bowl of steamed rice is too plain for you, why not switch to fried rice instead? Its slightly salty and flavorful usual taste will complement our dish’s sour nature, leading you and your family to a very hearty meal.
  • Bread or biscuit – another carbohydrate you can eat with our dish instead of Pancit and rice are slices of bread and biscuits. Aside from the fact that bread and biscuits are a healthier choice than rice because they are rich in fibers, proteins, aa\and fewer calories. It is a perfect combination for those who are on a diet. Pan de sal will be very recommended, by the way. 
  • Macaroni salad  – This type of salad is famous as a Filipino side dish often eaten with other recipes, including our featured stew. It is commonly served with mayonnaise or sour cream dressing that has a kick to it, most especially when refrigerated or chilled. Macaroni Salad not only looks good but is also a very savory dish. It will make you have another extraordinary dining experience that you would like to feel and taste again.
  • Lumpiang Shanghai – being one of the most famous Filipino viand, side dish, or even merienda, this Filipino dish’s versatility is indeed endless. If you pair it with stews, including our feature viand, its crunchiness will perfectly complement the sweet and sour sauce. With this match made in heaven combo, you wouldn’t mind asking for another bowl of steamed rice.
  • Crispy Pata -Serving Crispy Pata to your husband is an excellent choice if he looks for something crispy to munch with the sweet and sour sauce and tender chunks of meat. It will surely give you that fullness in your empty stomach and the satisfaction that your husband desires. These two recipes are fantastic when served with steamed rice.
  • Mashed Potato – If you want a heavy lunch or dinner, why not add mashed potatoes to your meal? The mashed potatoes’ extra soft texture blends perfectly with the sweet and sour dish’s taste that you will surely love.
  • Ensaladang Pipino – Can’t get enough of something sour to eat even after a meal with our featured dish? Do not worry because Ensaladang Pipino is there to satisfy you! Ensaladang Pipno is a Filipino salad made with sliced cucumbers, ground black pepper, onions, salt, fish sauce, and vinegar. If you want a kick of spice, you only have to add chiles to the mixture.
  • Soda – The perfect way to end your meal is, of course, to drink any refreshment. And for that, a glass of iced-cold soda will surely give you that extra full feeling after a delicious heavy meal with our highlighted Filipino dish. This carbonated drink will help in your digestion and surely refresh you right after your first few slurps.
  • Sago at Gulaman – If you are looking for something sweet after eating our sweet and sour dish to quench your thirst, sago at gulaman is something you should give a try. Aside from it being refreshingly delicious, it will also get rid of that strong sour flavor left in your tongue.

Now that you are done with your stew meal, you may opt to capture some pictures that show and document how remarkable your dining experience was because of the particular dish you have prepared. Say cheese!


Conclusion 

This whole document is intended to let you be informed and enlightened enough about the nature of this stew and how you should make it should you desire to prepare this for your family and friends. This dish has been part of every celebration and party for so many years now, and we believe that it’s finally time for you to learn how it is done, don’t you think so?

So for that, we wish you luck in your kitchen while preparing this stew dish. See you in our next article!

For more delicious recipes, visit Eat Like Pinoy!

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Best Beef Mechado Recipe

Beef Mechado is a type of Filipino beef stew. It is cooked in a tomato-based sauce along with potatoes. The sauce can be made from chopped ripe tomato or canned tomato sauce. This dish is prepared mostly during weekends or special occasions.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword Beef Caldereta, Beef Recipes, Best Beef Mechado Recipe, How to cook the Best Filipino Best Mechado
Prep Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 226kcal
Cost $5-$20

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Beef chuck cubed
  • 2 pcs Potatoes quartered
  • 1 pc Carrot cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pc Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 3 pcs Calamansi
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 pc Onion chopped
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt to taste

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine the beef with calamansi, soy sauce and crushed black pepper. Marinate for 2 hours. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onions. Then, add the beef.
  • After 10 minutes, put the water and tomato sauce. Simmer for 60 to 120 minutes or until the beef is tender.
  • Add the potatoes, carrots, and sugar. Cook for another 5-7 minutes. Then, add the red bell pepper. Stir.
  • Serve while hot and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 1050mg | Potassium: 509mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 189IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 3mg
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