Beef Mechado

Beef Mechado, a classic Filipino dish, is a hearty and flavorful stew that is perfect for any occasion. It is a dish that has been passed down from generation to generation and has become a staple in many Filipino households. The dish is made with tender beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, soy sauce, and a variety of spices.

A pot of Beef Mechado simmers on a stovetop, filling the air with the aroma of tomatoes, garlic, and tender chunks of beef

The name Mechado comes from the Spanish word “mechar,” which means to stuff or lard. The dish is believed to have originated during the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines when the locals adapted the Spanish technique of larding beef. The dish is typically cooked low and slow, allowing the flavors to meld together and the beef to become tender and succulent.

Beef Mechado is often served with steamed rice and is a popular dish for special occasions such as birthdays, fiestas, and holidays. It is a dish that is not only delicious but also represents the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines. Whether you are a Filipino or just a lover of good food, Beef Mechado is a dish that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

History of Beef Mechado

A simmering pot of beef mechado with tomatoes, onions, and potatoes, surrounded by the aroma of savory spices and herbs


Beef Mechado is a popular Filipino dish that has been around for centuries. The dish is believed to have originated from the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines, where the Spanish introduced beef to the locals. The term “mechado” comes from the Spanish word “mechar,” which means to stuff or lard with pork fat.

The dish is traditionally made with beef chuck or round, which is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, calamansi juice, garlic, and onions. The beef is then braised in a tomato-based sauce with potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers until it becomes tender and flavorful. Some variations of the dish also include the addition of liver spread or tomato paste to thicken the sauce.

Cultural Significance

Beef Mechado is not only a delicious and hearty dish, but it also holds cultural significance in the Philippines. The dish is often served during special occasions such as weddings, fiestas, and holidays, and is a symbol of Filipino hospitality and generosity.

In addition, Beef Mechado is also a popular comfort food in the Philippines, and many Filipinos have fond memories of eating the dish with their families. The dish has also gained popularity outside of the Philippines, and can now be found in Filipino restaurants around the world.

Overall, Beef Mechado is a beloved dish that has stood the test of time and continues to be a staple in Filipino cuisine. Its rich history and cultural significance make it a dish worth trying and appreciating.

Ingredients and Substitutions

A pot simmering with beef chunks, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. Possible substitutes for beef include pork or chicken

Essential Ingredients

To make a delicious Beef Mechado, you will need the following essential ingredients:

  • Beef Chuck: This is the best cut of beef for Mechado as it is tender and flavorful.
  • Soy Sauce: This is used to add saltiness and umami flavor to the dish.
  • Tomato Sauce: This is used to add acidity and sweetness to the dish.
  • Garlic: This is used to add a savory flavor to the dish.
  • Onions: This is used to add sweetness and texture to the dish.
  • Bay Leaves: This is used to add a subtle herbal flavor to the dish.
  • Peppercorns: This is used to add a mild heat and pungency to the dish.

Common Substitutions

If you don’t have all the essential ingredients for Beef Mechado, don’t worry. Here are some common substitutions you can use:

  • Beef Chuck: You can use other cuts of beef such as beef brisket or beef short ribs, but they may not be as tender as beef chuck.
  • Soy Sauce: You can use tamari sauce or Worcestershire sauce as a substitute for soy sauce.
  • Tomato Sauce: You can use tomato paste or canned diced tomatoes as a substitute for tomato sauce.
  • Garlic: You can use garlic powder or minced garlic as a substitute for fresh garlic.
  • Onions: You can use shallots or leeks as a substitute for onions.
  • Bay Leaves: You can use dried thyme or oregano as a substitute for bay leaves.
  • Peppercorns: You can use black pepper or red pepper flakes as a substitute for peppercorns.

Remember, substitutions may alter the flavor and texture of the dish, so use them wisely. With these essential ingredients and common substitutions, you can make a delicious Beef Mechado that will satisfy your taste buds.

Cooking Techniques

Beef chunks simmer in tomato sauce with onions and garlic, while carrots and potatoes are added for a hearty Mechado dish

Preparation Steps

To prepare Beef Mechado, the first step is to marinate the beef for at least an hour. The marinade consists of soy sauce, calamansi juice, garlic, and pepper. This step helps to tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.

After marinating, the beef is seared in a hot pan until browned on all sides. This step adds depth of flavor and texture to the dish.

Next, the vegetables are prepared. Onions, garlic, and tomatoes are sautéed in the same pan used to sear the beef, creating a flavorful base for the dish.

Cooking Methods

Once the vegetables are cooked, the beef is added back to the pan along with the marinade and water. The dish is then simmered for about an hour until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened.

To achieve the best results, it is important to use a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven for the cooking process. This helps to distribute heat evenly and prevent burning.

Overall, the key to a delicious Beef Mechado is to take your time with the preparation and cooking process. By marinating the beef, searing it, and simmering it with the vegetables and marinade, you will create a rich and flavorful dish that is sure to impress.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

A steaming plate of beef mechado, surrounded by colorful vegetables and a side of steamed rice, sits on a rustic wooden table. A glass of red wine complements the dish

When it comes to serving Beef Mechado, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that the dish is enjoyed to its fullest potential. Here are some suggestions for serving and pairing:

  • Serve Beef Mechado hot, straight from the pot. This dish is best enjoyed when it’s fresh and piping hot, so make sure to serve it right away.
  • Pair Beef Mechado with steamed rice. The savory, tomato-based sauce of the dish pairs perfectly with fluffy, steamed rice. For an extra burst of flavor, you can also add some chopped scallions or cilantro to the rice.
  • Add some texture with fried potatoes. If you’re looking to add some texture to the dish, consider serving it with some fried potatoes. The crispy exterior of the potatoes pairs well with the tender beef and rich sauce.
  • Serve with a side of vegetables. To balance out the richness of the dish, consider serving it with a side of vegetables. Steamed broccoli or green beans are a great option, as they add some freshness and crunch to the meal.
  • Pair with a bold red wine. Beef Mechado is a hearty, flavorful dish, so it pairs well with a bold red wine. Consider serving it with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah for a perfect pairing.

Overall, Beef Mechado is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether you’re serving it for a family dinner or a special occasion, these serving and pairing suggestions will help you create a delicious and memorable meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the traditional ingredients in a Beef Mechado recipe?

In a traditional Beef Mechado recipe, the main ingredients are beef chuck, soy sauce, calamansi juice, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and potatoes. Some variations may include carrots, bell peppers, and other spices.

How do I prepare Beef Mechado without using tomato sauce?

If you want to prepare Beef Mechado without using tomato sauce, you can substitute it with tomato paste or fresh tomatoes. You can also add other acidic ingredients like vinegar or calamansi juice to balance the flavors.

What are the nutritional values, such as calories, in Beef Mechado?

The nutritional values of Beef Mechado may vary depending on the recipe and serving size. On average, a 100-gram serving of Beef Mechado contains around 200-250 calories, 10-15 grams of fat, 15-20 grams of protein, and 10-15 grams of carbohydrates. It is also a good source of iron, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients.

Why is the dish named ‘Mechado’ and what does it signify?

The word ‘Mechado’ comes from the Spanish word ‘mechada’, which means ‘to stuff’. This refers to the traditional practice of stuffing beef with bacon or other ingredients before cooking. Over time, the recipe evolved to include other ingredients and cooking methods, but the name ‘Mechado’ stuck.

Which cuts of beef are best suited for making a flavorful Beef Mechado?

The best cuts of beef for making Beef Mechado are those with a good amount of marbling and connective tissue, such as beef chuck or brisket. These cuts become tender and flavorful when slow-cooked with the other ingredients.

What distinguishes the Aristocrat and Panlasang Pinoy styles of Beef Mechado?

The Aristocrat style of Beef Mechado is known for its sweet and tangy flavor, thanks to the addition of sugar and vinegar. On the other hand, the Panlasang Pinoy style is more savory and spicy, with the use of soy sauce and chili flakes. Both styles are delicious and have their own unique characteristics.

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Beef Mechado

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Beef Mechado is a savory Filipino stew known for its rich tomato-based sauce, infused with soy sauce, lemon juice, and traditional spices, surrounding tender pieces of beef, often with potatoes and carrots. It’s a hearty and comforting dish perfect for family meals.


  • 2 lbs beef chuck, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Marinate the Beef: Combine beef, soy sauce, and lemon juice in a bowl. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Brown the Beef: In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sear the beef until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  3. Sauté Vegetables: In the same pot, add garlic and onion. Cook until softened.
  4. Simmer the Stew: Return the beef to the pot. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours or until beef is tender.
  5. Add Vegetables: Add potatoes, carrots, and bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  6. Season: Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving.


  • Marinating the beef enhances its flavor and tenderness.
  • Cooking times may vary based on the cut of beef used. Adjust as necessary for tenderness.
  • Serve with rice for a traditional Filipino meal.
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes (including marinating time)
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: Filipino


  • Calories: 350
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 700mg
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 25g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Cholesterol: 90mg

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