This Filipino version of classic beef stew doesn't bother with wine--only a handful of the simplest ingredients are thrown in the pot--but it is deep in flavor and rich in comfort.
beef stew, mechado, Filipino mechado,
AuthorJean | Lemons + Anchovies
3 1/4 - 3 1/2poundsbeef chuck cut in large cubesI trim the excess fat so I don't have to skim after cooking
5-6tablespoonsfresh lemon juice
1large onionroughly sliced
1 15oz+ 1 8oz can tomato sauce
Beef Stocklow sodium; 2/3 of the 15 oz tomato can; about 10 ounces**
A few shakes garlic powdernot garlic salt; roughly 1/2 teaspoon
A few shakes onion powdernot onion salt; roughly 1/2 teaspoon
2dried bay leaves
3medium to large carrotspeeled and cut in large pieces
3/4 - 1poundsmall potatoesor about three regular, peeled
1red bell peppercut in pieces
Olive oil for cookinga few tablespoons
Marinate the Beef:
In a large bowl combine the beef, lemon juice and soy sauce and marinate for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (NOTE: Do not discard the lemon/soy sauce marinade--this will go in the stew.)
Cook the Stew:
In a large pot or skillet heat two or three tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. You'll be browning the beef in two to three batches. Take the marinated pieces from the bowl, draining the excess marinade and add to the pot with heated oil. Brown the beef, two to three minutes each on two sides then transfer to a plate while you brown the rest of the beef. Don't forget to save the marinade. Add another tablespoon of oil if you need it.
Once all the beef has browned, in the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium then add the onion, garlic powder and onion powder. Cook for two to three minutes. Add another tablespoon or two of oil if it's too dry. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen the brown bits from the pan.
Next, add back to the pot the beef, all the reserved marinade along with the tomato sauce, beef stock (or water) and the bay leaves. Scrape the remainder of the bits stuck to the pan. Cover and bring to a boil.
As soon as the liquid starts boiling, cover again, lower the heat and simmer until the meat is tender. Stir occasionally to avoid any sticking. (Total simmer time will be about one and a half hours.) The stew will collect a lot of liquid and this is okay. If you prefer you can just partially cover the pot with the lid but stews like this thicken eventually (especially if you use more potatoes) so I don't mind the excess liquid as it cooks.
Add the carrots and potatoes 1 hr into the simmering time. If your sauce has thickened and dried up at this stage you can add a bit more stock or water, about 1/4 cup at a time, but I normally don't need to. Add the red bell pepper 20 minutes after you add the carrots and potatoes and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. The beef should be tender and the sauce thickened after an hour and a half.
Serve warm with rice or bread. This stew gets thicker and more flavorful as you reheat it. If you should have leftovers two or three days later it wouldn't hurt to add a bit more stock or water. It doesn't dilute the flavor.
*Soy Sauce: I use a mix of Filipino soy sauce and low sodium Kikkoman but feel free to use whatever soy sauce you have. ** You can use water instead of beef stock.