Beef Mechado (Filipino Beef Stew)

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So I married a white man. A simple white man, who loves his meat and potatoes. When my Mom introduced him to Filipino food he was always questionable about anything we put in front of him. The one thing he never questioned was Mechado. He would go to town on this dish like it was nobody's business. Traditional Mechado uses beef that has a thick layer of fat slipped in the middle. I personally don't have time for that, and I also don't want the extra clogged arteries.

I have a good friend that works at a butcher shop in Brooklyn, NY who always tries to school me on my meat knowledge. I contacted him one day asking what would be best. When I said "What's a good lean cut of beef that I can use for stews?" He replied with "Non existent. What do you want a lean cut for a stew for? It's stew! You want fat!" Then I had to explain, and he advised for me to use a bottom round or chuck. I decided to go with chuck because let's face it, I need a little bit of fat for flavor, and I can always trim some off if I feel there's too much.

For this recipe I love using my dutch oven. I usually use it for any stew or soup I make. It cooks so nicely and much more evenly than your normal stainless steel pot.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Beef Chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes.
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Dark Soy Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil blend
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Large Onion, diced
  • 3 teaspoons patis (fish sauce)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups white potato, unpeeled and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces.

Directions:
Marinate Beef in lemon juice, soy sauce and black pepper for 30-45minutes.
Preheat Dutch oven with olive oil blend. Brown beef in batches and set aside (SAVE THAT MARINADE!!). Brown your garlic. Once garlic is browned, add your onions and cook until it's nice and a little transparent. Add your beef back in, then throw in the crushed tomatoes, patis, reserved marinade, bay leaves, bell peppers, beef stock and water (pretty much everything, except the carrots and potatoes). Turn heat down just a little above low heat so that the stew is simmering. Let cook for about 2 hours or until meat is tender, then add potatoes and carrots. Continue cooking until potatoes are cooked. Enjoy with some steamed rice!

**If you're a real Filipino or eat like a Filipino your ulam (dish) to rice ratio will pretty much be equal**

Gretchen Dominique