Authentic Filipino beef mechado is a larded piece of beef that is braised in a mix of soy sauce, calamansi, tomatoes, ground pepper and bay leaf. The meat resembles that of a roast and when done it’s sliced into rounds.
In our family this is served most often for Sunday lunch at my maternal grandmother’s house or at home. Meals are always extra special during Sunday’s when everyone gathers after church services.
Nowadays, mechado has evolved into a kind of beef stew where meat is cut up into chunks. Probably for convenience and ease of cooking. Another possibility is that we have access to better quality beef since larding was primarily done as technique of adding fat to very lean and/or tough pieces of meat to make it flavorful.
To prepare mechado, you will need a pound and a half of beef chuck roast cut into cubes. Place this in a pot together with 1 large white minced onion, 4 chopped roma tomatoes, 2 ladle spoon of soy sauce, 1 tsp ground black pepper, bay leaves and a cup of water. Let this sit and marinate for a minimum of an hour in the fridge.
Then place this under medium high heat and let it come to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour or until meat is fork tender. Strain your beef from the liquid or broth. Get another pot and heat about 1-2 tbsp olive oil and saute 3-4 cloves minced garlic, cook until fragrant. Then add your beef and let it brown a bit. Pour in your cooking liquid and about 2 tbsp of tomato paste and one red bell pepper that has been chopped. Adjust seasoning as needed (you can use soy sauce or salt) Cook until sauce has thickened and reduced.
We typically eat this with rice. I however tried something new and served it with quinoa as we are trying to cut back on carbs.