Monday, December 26, 2011

Beef Mechado - Free Filipino Recipes by Kusina Ni Manang

What's the differece between beef mechado and kaldereta? Different people have tried to describe the two. I have my own, too, but first, the similarities: beef chunks (or roast), garlic, onions, bell peppers, tomato sauce, bay leaves, peppercorn, potatoes, carrots.

Now for the differences:
Kaldereta - add liver paste or sausage (or if I had it, Reno liver spread), and cheese. Other optional add ons usually include black olives.

Mechado - add soy sauce and vinegar (others use only soy sauce), and snap beens (aka Baguio beans) (plus I added celery here)

The two definitely differ in taste, but both are awesome! And hubby likes 'em both! They are very American-friendly Filipino dishes, and my kids love bringing them to school for lunch, though they never care to learn what they are called aside from "beef stew."

2 lbs stew meat (beef cut in chunks)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (green and red)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I actually used 2 tbsp of Tamari soy sauce and then regular soy sauce to make up 1/4 cup total)
1/4 cup (red wine) vinegar
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns (appoximate)
salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp kosher)
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
1 big or 3 small potatoes, cubed
1 big carrot, cubed (I did not have any at the time)
2 cups snap beans

I made use of pressure cooker for this, since I wanted to be able to cook this up quickly in time for supper. We were busy during the earlier part of the day working out in the garden.

Heat the pressure cooker empty on medium high for about 3 minutes. Add oil, saute the garlic, onions, celery, and bell peppers. Add the beef, and saute until brown. This will results to beef sweating and will put out about 1/2 cup of liquid. Sprinkle salt and stir. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar and soy sauce. Stir and close the lid. Pressure-cook as directed by your manufacturer for 15 minutes (starting to count the minutes once the pressure valve pops up; don't forget to switch to low heat enough to maintain a steady gentle steam coming out of the lid). Meanwhile, cut the potatoes and carrots into cubes. Microwave for about 2-3 minutes to partially cook. Once 15 minutes are up, add the potatoes and carrots and stir. Close the lid tightly (do not set to pressure cook; just keep tight) and cook for 3 minutes; add snap beans, stir, cover tight again and turn off heat. By the end of this cooking, the sauce has thickened enough, thanks to potatoes and all the flavors have blended wonderfully. Serve as topping for fried rice (if you are Pinoy) or with bread/biscuit (if you are a Westerner). I served it with biscuit to hubby (quick enough to prepare compared to bread).

(Cooking style will vary with regular pot. You may have to add water to prevent drying up. Of course, cooking time for beef will also vary and may reach 45 minutes to an hour to cook this cut until tender. You, the cook, will just have to grope your way into cooking the rest of the ingredients. Potatoes and carrots added together will probably take 15 minutes (or you may add the carrots 5 minutes later), then snap beans will require 2 minutes or so depending on how cooked you want it.)


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