Monday, November 17, 2008


This weekend I cooked beef mechado. I have never cooked mechado before. I have no idea how to cook it or what's in it. But I do know how it taste. The best way to know something I do not know is to google an idea. On google search, I typed mechado and I came across these recipes from great blogs and websites. I followed and combined some recipes I found online such as Market Manila, Honolulu Food Blog, "The Tasty Island," and I used techniques I learned from Lidia's Italy. From little information and little cooking experience I have, I invented my own mechado. The result was delicious. The whole casserole of mechado was all gone now.

Here's what I put in it and how I did it:

2 lbs beef (I used grass fed beef. I happen to have some grass fed beef from a local farm. I cut them in one inch size to reduce cooking time.)
2 cans beef stock
4 cloves garlic
2 onions cut in quarters
4 russet potatoes diced
4 med carrots cut 1/2 inch
1 red bell pepper diced
1 green bell pepper diced
4 tomatoes diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 c soy sauce
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
2 lemons
3 bay leaves
crushed red chili flakes
whole black pepper
crushed black pepper

First I marinate beef in 2 fresh squeezed lemons for 30 minutes. The marinate helps to tenderize beef, which is a must for grass fed beef for it has higher muscle content than store bought beef. Higher muscle content means longer cooking time, so marinating is the best option to go green, reducing electric bill. Rinse beef and let dry. Salt and add crushed black pepper. Now brown beef in olive oil and hot pan. Then set aside.
2. Brown potatoes and carrots then set aside.
3. Then be ready for some great aroma in the kitchen. Saute onions then add garlic. Add tomato paste, 1 diced tomato and red chili flakes to give foundational flavor to mechado. Put beef back in the casserole and add red wine to burn alcohol. Pour beef stock, soy, vinegar and allow beef to tenderize. Add to this bay leaves and whole black pepper. Watch stock content occasionally, making sure stock is right on beef level. It took me 1 hr 15 minutes.

4. When beef is fork tender, add to pot: potatoes, carrots, red and green bell pepper and tomatoes. Cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with steam rice and enjoy with family.
FYI: When goat is used instead of beef, the recipe changes name to Kaldereta, which came from "kalding" (Goat in Ilokano). Source from wikipedia: Mechado. Accessed Nov 17, 2008.

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