Simple Sundays | Mechado Filipino Beef Stew

Comfort in the form of a hearty stew can be found in nearly every country’s cuisine, and the Philippines is no different. Mechado, Filipino beef stew, is the Philippine’s version of the ubiquitous comfort food with a wonderful depth of flavor that comes from browned…

Simple Sundays | Mechado Filipino Beef Stew

Comfort in the form of a hearty stew can be found in nearly every country’s cuisine, and the Philippines is no different. Mechado, Filipino beef stew, is the Philippine’s version of the ubiquitous comfort food with a wonderful depth of flavor that comes from browned garlic, marinated beef, and the complex flavors of patis, or fish sauce (affiliate).

Mechado - Filipino Beef Stew | www.kitchenconfidante.com | Comfort food at its best. Tender beef, hearty potatoes and vegetables in a tomato based stew.

When I first started dating my husband, our mutual friend clued me in — he’s a “beef and potatoes man,” she said. I knew in an instant that Mechado would be the first dish I would cook for him. In my little apartment, on that tiny little stove, I made my ultimate stick-to-your-ribs comfort dish. It seemed very appropriate for that early autumn day in the midwest, with familiar flavors, no matter where you were from.

Fourteen years of marriage later, and I think I made the right choice.

When the weather turns, Mechado comes back in rotation, and the other day, I felt it was time. It was the kind of day I wish I could just stay in and do nothing. Doing nothing is hardly ever an option, but a hearty stew helps. Low and slow, braising chunks of beef into fork tender morsels with chunks of potatoes is my idea of fall cooking, don’t you agree?

Mechado - Filipino Beef Stew | www.kitchenconfidante.com | When you're craving stick to your ribs comfort food, make this Filipino stew.

Mechado - Filipino Beef Stew  www.kitchenconfidante | Comfort in the form of a hearty stew can be found in nearly every country’s cuisine, and the Philippines is no different. Mechado is the Philippine version of the ubiquitous comfort food with a wonderful depth of flavor that comes from browned garlic, marinated beef, and the complex flavors of patis, or fish sauce.

Mechado Filipino Beef Stew

Comfort in the form of a hearty stew can be found in nearly every country’s cuisine, and the Philippines is no different. Mechado is the Philippine version of the ubiquitous comfort food with a wonderful depth of flavor that comes from browned garlic, marinated beef, and the complex flavors of patis, or fish sauce. When I first started dating my husband, having heard that he was a “beef and potatoes man,” I knew in an instant that Mechado would be the first dish I would cook for him. Over ten years of marriage later, and I think I made the right choice.
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5 from 3 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Keyword beef, stew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 567kcal
Author Liren Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs beef for stew
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup good dark soy sauce I like Silver Swan, found in Asian markets
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or crushed
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (patis)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • several dashes of Tabasco
  • 2-3 cups beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 2 russet potatoes peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped in 2 inch pieces
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Marinate beef in soy sauce, lemon, and black pepper for at least 30 minutes.
  • Brown garlic in oil and set aside.
  • Brown beef, working in batches if necessary (reserve the marinade).
  • Return beef to pot, add onions and season with fish sauce (patis).
  • When the onions are wilted, add tomato sauce and water and stir.
  • After about two minutes, add Tabasco, beef stock, 2 tablespoons of reserved marinade, bay leaves and bell pepper.
  • Let come to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Add reserved garlic. Cover the pot with the lid, and let it stew for about 1 1/2 hours (see notes), stirring occasionally.
  • When the meat is tender, add potatoes and carrots. Continue cooking until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes more.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice.

Notes

Note on simmering the stew: In general, it takes about 45 minutes for the meat to just start getting tender. Check the beef at this time and continue cooking as necessary. I usually try to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, longer if I want it really tender – the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.
Using a pressure cooker (e.g. Instant Pot): Mechado is delicious when made in a pressure cooker. At the point where it is time to simmer the stew, cook in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes at high pressure. Then add the potatoes and carrots and cook again for about 10-15 minutes on high pressure. If you like, you can allow the mechado to simmer in your pressure cooker, uncovered, afterward to reduce the liquid a bit more. I hope that helps.

Nutrition

Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 132mg | Sodium: 1581mg | Potassium: 1486mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 125.8% | Vitamin C: 64.1% | Calcium: 6.8% | Iron: 36.5%
Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante

Comments

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  1. Valerie

    This stew looks amazing! I love the idea of soy sauce and serving it over rice – I will have to try this recipe soon. 
    I have a hearty beef stew that I usually make, but it might be time for a change. :)
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Thanks, Valerie! The soy sauce does add so much flavor to the stew – I hope you try this favorite of mine!

    • Liren Baker

      Yes, absolutely, Shereen. I used to use just water, but I do like how the flavor is richer when I use beef stock. If you use water, then you may have to adjust your seasoning a touch – try tweaking it with a bit of soy sauce and/or fish sauce, and you should be fine! Let me know how it works out!

    • Liren Baker

      Good question, thanks so much, Charity. I do cover the pot while simmering (adding that to the directions!).

  2. Ming

    Can I transfer it in the crockpot to let it stew for a few hours?

    Reply
  3. Ernesto San Jose

    Hi. Seems like a good recipe and I will definitely try this. Thank you.

    May I know what you refer to as “reserved garlic”? The garlic you browned or fresh crushed garlic?

    Would appreciate your reply.

    VTY,
    Atchet

    Reply
  4. Boo

    What cut of beef do you use for this dish. I have never tried making this, but whenever we visit Manila I take my husband to Fely J’s or Abe’s for mechado as this is his fave Filipino dish. I read your blog and you made it sound so easy to make. I will surely try making this!!! Looking forward to your response… thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Boo! I use boneless beef chuck for this recipe. It’s such an easy favorite, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Please come back and let me know how it goes.

  5. Liz

    Is this the same as beef kaldereta? Also if I put it in a crockpot, what heat setting and for how long? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Liz! Kaldereta is a little different in that it usually involves liver/liver paste for a richer sauce. The mechado can be started on the stove and transferred to the slow cooker — cook for 3-4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. I hope that helps!

  6. Charlotte

    Finally, I found the Beef Mechado that I’ve been looking for. The previous mechado that I made doesn’t taste like it. This one it’s like my mommy’s Mechado. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Charlotte, that means SO much — thank you! There’s nothing like mom’s mechado, so I’m glad this brought back memories and the taste you were looking for!

  7. Nicole

    Looks sooo good. It’s currently stewing in my pot right now.

    Just wondering though, why does the beef and the red peppers stew first? And then the carrots and potatoes? The red pepper won’t get smushy? Why can’t it be at once? No ones ever taught me to make Filipino food so I have to learn on my own haha

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Nicole, good question! Growing up, my family made the mechado so that the peppers melted in, adding it’s flavor to the stew. I hope you enjoyed it!

  8. ali

    when i was growing up, my lola used to make something that she just called “meat, carrots, and potatoes.” THIS IS IT!! i can’t believe how well my google search for “filipino meat carrots potatoes” turned out. i was skeptical making the marinade, but i figured that at least we’d have a good stew. the first time i went to check on the pot in the simmering phase, when i lifted the lid my kitchen suddenly smelled like lola’s house. thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Ali, your comment made my day! Thank you SO much for coming back to let me know — I’m so glad you were able to have a taste of your lola’s cooking!! This recipe is such comfort food, isn’t it?

  9. Melissa

    Hi! How long does it usually take to simmer? Will this work in instantpot? Tyvm

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Melissa, it really depends on the meat — but in general, it takes about 45 minutes for the meat to just start getting tender. I would check it at around this time and then gauge it from there. I usually try to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, longer if I want it really tender (it can’t hurt to go longer!).

      Now for the instant pot – or any pressure cooker – yes! I LOVE making the mechado in my pressure cooker and cook it for 30 minutes at high pressure. Then I add the potatoes and carrots and cook again for about 10-15 minutes on high pressure.

      I hope this helps! I’ll add these notes to the recipe card. Happy cooking!

  10. Ysena Flores

    This was an easy to follow recipe. My family prefers it much more than the traditional beef stew. The only addition we made were green olives.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Ysena, a belated thanks for your comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe — green olives are a delicious addition!

    • Liren Baker

      Hope you do enjoy it for dinner! Not sure if you were commenting or trying to send the link to save or share the recipe, but if so, there is an email button between the recipe and comments section to do so!

  11. Tanya

    so excited to try this out! do you reduce the liquid quantities at all when you use the instant pot? thanks!

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Tanya! I don’t change the liquid quantities when I use the pressure cooker :) Hope that helps, and I hope you love it! Let me know how it works out with your instant pot!

  12. Paul

    Incorrect measurement. Way too much liquid for instant pot. Recipe calls for almost 5 cups of liquid for 1.5 lbs of meat. Ended up with a soupy mess. Every orher recipe online calls for 2 cups of liquid or less.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Paul, the challenge with cooking with a pressure cooker is that while the meat benefits by becoming very tender quickly, the liquid doesn’t have time to reduce into a thicker sauce. Also, results can vary depending on the capacity pressure cooker you have. You mention an Instant Pot, and I understand that there are different sizes — I actually have a large capacity pressure cooker by Fagor, and haven’t had any issues with my ratios. By all means, if you prefer a drier mechado, you can reduce the liquid. I should note that it is not 5 cups, but closer to 3-4 cups. Also, if you like, you can allow the mechado to simmer in your pressure cooker, uncovered, afterward to reduce the liquid a bit more. I hope that helps.

  13. tibbs

    In several other recipes of mechado, I see calamansi juice being used. Your recipe calls for lemon juice. When I visited the Philippines, calamansi reminds me more of lime than lemon in flovor. How much impact in flavor would be substituting line for lemon in this recipe? I love lines.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Growing up in New York, my mom did not have access to calamansi, so lemon was her preferred substitute. But I know what you mean about the flavor of calamansi — to me it’s like a combination of lemon or lime with a touch of tangerine, so by all means, you can substitute lime juice here, and even give it a touch of tangerine or orange juice, if you like. Enjoy!

  14. Suesv

    Tonight I made this recipe for the 2nd time and I love it! Nice subtle change from my usual beef stews. The dark soy sauce/lemon marinade really makes the beef incredibly tender. Yum!

    Reply
  15. Pamela

    Thank you sooo much! Followed your recipe from start to finish. The only thing I did differently was frying the potatoes and carrots first on a pan to get it soft before putting it in the pot w the others. I’m Filipina American living in San Francisco and it tasted just like home.
    It’s so hard to find really good Filipino recipes online. Again, many thanks! My husband and 2 year old son loved it. Home run.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Pamela, your comment made my day – that means so much and is the best compliment I can ever hope for. I’m so glad it tasted like home AND that the whole family loved it, too!

  16. Suobhan

    I made this dish because I loved it as a child (I’m 1/2 Filipino). Flavor was spot on! I made just one change—before browning the beef, I tossed the cubes in a little all-purpose flour because I wanted to create a thicker broth. My husband LOVED it. Your website is terrific : )

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Suobhan, I’m so thrilled this brought you a taste of your childhood! Such a good idea to toss the beef in flour – the sauce must have been extra thick and yummy! Thank you so much for cooking along with me! And yay for hubbies appreciating mechado :)

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