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Sunday, August 5, 2018

My version of Filipino Mechado Beef Stew

Okay, by request, my version of the recipe for Filipino "Mechado beef stew".

Many countries have a version of this comfort food, each with each culture's twist. The Filipino style combines rich beef broth with a tomato base and the addition of umami with "patis" (filipino fish sauce). My version adds 5 spice powder and a bit of paprika. The tomato base adds a depth of color and flavor pop to the usual brown broth.

Rusty's Mechado beef stew

  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 5 spice powder (not required, but its tasty)
  • Paprika 
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • (Optional root veggie: rutabaga, parsnip....I prefer these to potatoes)
  • Two large tomatoes, largely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes, or baby carrots
  • Chinese long beans
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup A-1 steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste  
  • 2 cups beef broth. I use "Better than bullion" beef concentrate and mix with water according to directions on the jar.
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Filipino fish sauce (Patis)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • Optional: two large jalapeno peppers, whole

  1.  Dredge beef pieces in a mixture of flour, black pepper,  paprika, and a bit of 5 spice powder.
  2. Heat oil. Cook garlic and onions till fragrant, to flavor the oil. Remove from pot and set aside.
  3. Cook beef until browned, turning frequently.) Add lemon juice, patis, a few shakes of paprika, A-1/worcestershire, and broth. Stir up any browned bits and continue to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste and enough water to cover meat. Bring to a boil, skimming scum as necessary. Add bay leaves. Lower heat, cover and cook for about 1 to 2 hours or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. If water starts to dry out before beef is tender, add additional water in ½ cup increments as needed. Keep beef just covered with fluid.
  5.  Add root vegetables and continue to cook until tender (you can add the whole jalapeno here). Add celery, long beans and green/red peppers and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until tender-crisp.
  6.  To thicken the gravy, remove a cup of the cooking fluid. In separate bowl whisk 1/2 cup water with corn starch. Whisk into the hot fluid then add back to pot, stirring well.
  7. Season with 5 spice powder, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with rice.

Keep in mind can adjust water/bullion/tomato paste and thickening to your personal preference. As with many Filipino recipes, we don't usually measure anything. So tweak the recipe to your taste, and I hope the beefy-tomatoey flavor is to your liking!

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