beef mechado

July 26, 2008

mechado was one of my favorite dishes when i was growing up. it was up there together with my all-time favorites – menudo, adobo, morcon and beef caldereta.

my yaya used to cook the best mechado (and so the best menudo, the best adobo, the best morcon and the best beef caldereta, naks!) that the taste of it lingered in my palate over the years. truly unforgettable. as i remember it right, she has four to five variations of mechado (all of it good!). there was one when she used a lot of tomatoes in lieu of tomato paste. another where she used double the dose of tomato paste which makes for a rich tomato-eey stew. variations of mechado also depend on the equipment used. she used to cook mechado using the pressure cooker, or if the pressure cooker was not working over slow fire using a thick pot or simply using the wok. but my favorite of all is the mechado over slow fire.

this recipe, i hope, approximates, if not equal, the recipe that my family and i were so used to when my yaya was still alive.

ingredients:

600 gms. beef kalitiran
1/3 cup pork fat (from kasim)
1/4 cup quickmelt cheese (magnolia or the queso brand)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 medium size onion chopped into tiny pieces
2 tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 beef broth in cubes (optional)

marinade:

soy sauce
calamansi juice
pepper

1 wash meat and slice into cubes or into flat rectangles about an eight of an inch. marinate it overnight in soy sauce and calamansi juice.

2 in a wok, brown meat in oil. set aside. this time using the pot, saute garlic, onions and tomatoes (in oil used for browning the meat) for about a minute or two or until onions are soft and transluscent. blend in the meat and let it simmer in low heat for another couple of minutes while stirring occassionally. then cover the meat with water and turn heat on to high to boil. once boiling, add the beef broth cubes and turn the flame back to low heat and let it simmer for a while.

3 add the 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sugar, the two tablespoons of tomato paste, the cubed pork fats and the bay leaves. stir. cover the pot and let it simmer (on low heat) for an hour. then add the cheese and let it simmer for half an hour more. if need be, add salt to taste.

place the mechado in a large fancy bowl, garnish it with some green leaves and voila! you have a meal!

enjoy!

>> if you bought kalitiran with fat all around it, which by the way is the yummiest, just skim the oil from the pot (after the dish is done, just place your hot dish rag under one side of the pot just to make it tilt so that the oil/grease will be concentrated on one side and thus easier to skim) and store it in your ref for use later with fried rice, beef tapa etc. (transfat galore!). you can also use sirloin beef for this dish.

>>>for best result, use an enameled iron pot or any thick bottomed calderos you can find in your kitchen.

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