The Philippines is a beautiful country with traditions and cultural heritage influenced by more than three hundred years of colonization by different nations. Each nation is leaving an imprint that is evident in the foods they have up to the traditions and beliefs that most of them still practice today.
Of all the nations that stepped foot on the archipelago, there is one that really left a profound impact on who the Filipinos are today. It shows in the religious belief that they adhere to, the similarity in the language spoken, and to these all off, the dishes that they genuinely enjoy.
Spain and their three hundred and thirty years of colonial rule in the Philippines are deeply ingrained in the Filipino people’s culture. One undeniable proof of their influence is the food: from the dishes’ names up to the cooking style and the ingredients, they are very similar to Spanish cuisines.
And for this article, we will be sharing with you a dish that is well-loved by Filipinos, especially during occasions that call for festive and grand dishes. One that is loved even by one of the Philippines ’ well-known heroes.
So let’s go straight ahead and share with you the vital information you need to know for you to cook the Best Beef Pochero in town.
What is Beef Pochero Recipe (sauce made with tomatoes recipe)
Beef pochero is originally a Spanish cuisine traditionally cooked in Spanish-speaking nations such as Argentina, Paraguay, and Mexico. The name pochero or puchero refers to the cooking pot that the people use when cooking this savory dish.
There are, however, multiple versions of pochero, depending on the country or culture we are referring to. This varies from the type of meat they use and the variation of ingredients depending on the country in which the dish is being cooked in. Even the season as to when they serve pochero varies greatly: in some parts of the world, this dish is primarily served during the cold, winter months.
And in the Philippines, Beef Pochero signals a festive and extravagant occasion. One can get a taste of this savory dish during town or barrio fiestas, or any event that calls for exquisite and festive cuisines.
Judging from the ingredients that a home cook uses for this festive treat, and you can never deny that it is truly grand in its own right. The assortment of vegetables, and even fruits like the banana, and the choice for the meat parts will surely whet your appetite with anticipation and delight.
And the heavenly tomato-based sauce is overloaded with umami goodness, coupled with freshly chopped tomatoes will be enough to make you ask for seconds of it.
Ways to Cook
As you may have known already, Beef Pochero is cooked mostly during festivities and special occasions like weddings, birthdays and other important events. And most of the time, home cooks will really opt-in to use the traditional cooking method of a wood-fired stove, especially if the serving will be for a big group of people.
And it is always a joy to watch people helping one another prepare dishes like the good, old times. But with the advancement of technology and the busy lifestyle of many people, most of them do not have the luxury of cooking this dish the old way.
And so, we took the time to list down a few other ways to nail Beef Pochero still using the modern kitchenware that you may have in your kitchen.
The slow cooker does what its name implies: cook food using low but consistent temperature. The slow and steady temperature allows the flavors to really draw out from the ingredients and concentrate in the sauce, making it genuinely savory and sumptuous.
Another benefit of using a slow cooker is that it prevents the breakage of the ingredients’ nutrients due to high heat. This ensures that you’re getting all the essential nutrients that you’re supposed to be getting. After all, what’s the use of eating nutrient-packed ingredients without getting nutrition from them, right?
You can go ahead and boil the beef cuts before putting them in the slow cooker. You can also use the slow cooker to saute the rest of the components: just select the proper sauteing settings.
Once all the ingredients are well incorporated already, then that’s when you pour in the broth and the sauce. After that, press the cook’s settings and allow the slow cooker to take care of the rest.
The pressure cooker is the home cook’s friend who needs to cut down the cooking time of ingredients, typically requiring them to cook for extended periods. This is true especially for tough cuts of meat like beef and pork. The pressure builds up, and the steam pushes the boiling point of water beyond its typical boiling point, thus tenderizing meats faster than usual.
Since the pressure cooker is heavy and durable, you can also saute the ingredients there before pressure cooking them. Once you have all the ingredients ready, saute them in order as the recipe dictates. Make sure to have an adequate amount of liquid or broth to soak the ingredients enough.
Then add in the sauce needed for the Beef Pochero and close the pressure cooker’s lid, making sure to reduce the pressure from time to time. Allowing pressure to escape from the cooker in intervals keeps the lid from flying high up in the air. It also prevents overcooking the ingredients: lest you want mushy and soggy vegetables and meats.
A lot of Filipino households still use stovetop cookers because of how affordable and economical they are. And for that reason, many Filipino cuisines revolves around being cooked using either electric or LPG-fueled stove top burners.
And most stovetop also has other features included in it, such as an oven at the bottom, which makes it a multicooker, to say the least. And for an experienced home cook, having a cooker that can do multiple things simultaneously is heaven-sent.
You can use whatever stovetop you have at home; it doesn’t really matter if it's electric or gas-powered, so long as it can do the job of cooking, that’s fine. The direct heat coming from the bottom of the burner is what we’re after, so make sure to use a durable cooking pot that can hold a high amount of heat: that way, we can be sure that all the ingredients will be cooked adequately.
Simply follow the recipe for cooking Beef Pochero. You can cut the vegetables to about an inch of thickness for them to cook faster: you can even pan-fry them for a bit to form a bit of crust for better flavor. Once all the ingredients and the sauce are blended together, cover your pot and make sure to set the temperature to moderate to avoid overcooking the dish.
Other Delicious Variants of Pochero Recipe
The Beef Pochero that we know of today is the Filipino take on a Spanish/Mexican classic dish. That means you can also put your twist on it so that you can come up with a variant that suits your palate and your family’s as well.
That’s how versatile this dish is, and for starters, we have a list here of variants that you can try at home and see which one will fit your liking.
With Eggplant Sauce
Eggplant sauce is basically a tomato-based sauce mixed in with chopped eggplant that is then sauteed with aromatics, such as basil, parsley, and black pepper, sauteed in olive oil. This sauce is really aromatic and flavorful, and it can even be used in plates of pasta.
This particular vegetable-based sauce balances out the richness of the Beef Pochero, and you can also serve it as a side dish to complement the latter’s flavors. The preparation of the eggplant sauce is simple though the name may be intimidating at first.
You simply have to dice the eggplants and the tomatoes, then saute them in olive oil. Once the vegetables are tender and the tomato sheds its skin, then that’s the time you put in the aromatics. You can use any type of cooking oil, but we suggest that you use olive oil for a more aromatic flavor.
As for the Beef Pochero, you can proceed as the recipe dictates. The eggplant sauce can be served separately as a side dish, or you can put it on top of the Pochero.
Beef Pochero Recipe Stew with Spanish Chorizos
Spanish chorizos are sausages that are seasoned generously with black pepper, Spanish paprika, garlic, and salt. With all these strong-flavored aromatics, one cannot deny that this sausage is genuinely flavorful.
And adding it to an already flavorful dish makes the Beef Pochero taste even better. The intense flavors of the aromatic brought by the chorizo will go up the ante for the savory and mildly sweet taste of the Pochero sauce. And we’re sure that once you make this, the second serving of rice is not impossible.
You can purchase the ones that you can see at the supermarket, or you can even make the chorizo on your own if you have the time to do so. But either way will do. Just make sure to use Spanish chorizo and not be confused with the Chinese chorizo, which is a tad bit sweeter.
Just proceed with the steps indicated in the recipe. To draw out the chorizo’s goodness, include them while sauteing the aromatics for the oils and the flavors to really seep out and blend with the rest of the ingredients. Then follow through with how you will typically cook Beef Pochero.
Pochero with beef short ribs & banana
Beef short ribs are the part of the beef cut that can be found between the chuck and rib, so beef ribs contain the flavor of both. Fatty, meaty, and flavorful because the bones are still intact.
And any cook will know that the closer to the bones the meats are, the more flavorful they will be.
The best variant of banana that you can use is the plantain, as they are firmer compared to the rest of the banana variety that you will see in the market. Their texture makes them the perfect side dish for any sauce-based. Slice them across the length of the banana thinly and fry them until they change color.
You can pre-boil the beef ribs prior to sauteing them. However, this might result in losing a significant amount of flavors: the better way is to saute them with the aromatics, then tenderize them by adding broth before adding in the components needed for the sauce.
If you need to really par-boil the beef cuts, we would recommend that you set aside the broth for later, as the broth contains the concentrated flavors of the beef and bones.
While you’re par-boiling the beef ribs, you may want to add chopped onions, carrots, and celery into the pot so that you can have a really flavorful stock that you can use.
Knowing a few fun facts about the foods that we eat adds additional delight while eating them. So we included a few trivia and fun facts about Beef Pochero so that we can appreciate them better.
Did you know that Pochero is the favorite dish of one of the Philippines’ greatest heroes? Marcelo H. del Pilar, a native of Bulacan and considered one of the Philippine Revolution heroes, is a die-hard fan of Pochero.
Another fun fact is that in the Panay Islands, specifically in the province of Iloilo, Pochero is cooked differently. The Beef Pochero that we are all familiar with has tomato sauce as its base, but for the Ilonggo folks, their Pochero is our Nilaga (Beef Soup). Quite confusing, right?
And since we want you to be the best home cook that you can be, we want to share with you some kitchen-tested tips that you can try for you to achieve that Beef Pochero that you will always crave for.
- When choosing parts to use for Beef Pochero, we recommend that you pick those parts that are a bit tougher, like chucks; they contain a larger collagen concentration, which adds flavor to the dish.
- Instead of boiling your veggies for this dish, why not fry them. This gives off a bit of a nutty flavor to the vegetables.
- Use pureed tomatoes if you can for a more savory sauce. Tomatoes are rich in umami taste.
Don’t fret when you encounter troubles when cooking this recipe. We all have our share of messy cooking moments. That’s why we’re here for you. We have here time-tested troubleshooting tips to remedy your kitchen dilemma.
- Fish sauce can help add a spark of flavor if your Beef Pochero is somehow lackluster in taste.
- If the meats are still challenging, then scoop them out of the batch and slice them thinly after simmering them. This is to make sure that the heat is evenly distributed across the fibers of the meat.
- If your sauce is a bit runny, you might include the plantains while simmering the whole dish. The starch of the banana will help thicken the sauce.
Best Serve With
Beef Pochero will always be a perfect partner for a warm plate of steamed white rice, but then again, we’re not limited to just rice. We have included a list of other dishes that you can pair this savory treat with.
Unconventional, you say, but wait until you get to experience the delight of partnering a savory dish with the sweetness and the smokiness of this native delicacy. After all, where's the joy of eating if we are not adventurous from time to time?
This Mexican-inspired rice dish is packed with flavors and aroma that is sure to win your heart, and the side dish of fried plantains is filling and hearty. Pair this up with Beef Pochero, and you have yourself a Mexican feast right at home.
Puto Pao is a fusion of two equally famous delicacies- Puto or rice cake of the Filipinos and Siopao or meat bun of Chinese cuisine: put them together, and you have yourself a treat worthy of being partnered with our savory and sumptuous Beef Pochero. This is East meets West kind of dining delight.
Food plays a massive part in a nation's culture and heritage, as it is one of the most tangible proofs of a nation's identity. For that reason alone, knowing how to cook them and serve them to our loved ones is one way of honoring our heritage. Our culture is worth celebrating because of how colorful and proud our nation should be.
With all these things said about Beef Pochero and the information we have shared with you, by now, we are more than confident to say that you are equipped to cook and serve this festive dish to your family. So until next time and happy cooking!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Beef Pochero Recipe
- 1 kg Beef meat cut into bite-size
- 2 pcs Chorizo bilbao cut into thin rounds
- 2 pcs Potatoes cut into big cubes
- 1 pc Carrot cut into big cubes
- 10 pcs Baguio beans cut into half and the hard part is removed
- 1 cup Tomato sauce
- 3 pcs Plantains saba banana, cut into 3 pieces each pc.
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground black pepper
- 4 cloves Garlic crushed into pieces
- 1 pc Onion big and cut into small cubes
- 3 pcs Tomatoes cut into small cubes
- 5 cups Water
- ¼ kg Bok choy pechay, cut the hard part at the bottom.
- 2 tbsp Oil
- Heat oil in a pot, saute garlic until golden brown, add onion and saute until softened, and then add tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are softened and crushed.
- Now add the beef meat and season it with salt and ground black pepper. Mix until beef meat turned brown. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, pour the water into the pot, remove the black bubbles the may appear on top of the mixture. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, toss in chorizo bilbao and simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, add potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, toss in the saba banana, green pepper, Baguio beans, and tomato sauce. Bring to boil and add pechay.
- Serve hot and enjoy!