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.
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.
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. Allow the mechado to simmer in your pressure cooker, uncovered, afterward to reduce the liquid a bit more.