Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mechado and memories of my father's recipes

This blog has been mainly about eating out and traveling -- my readers (yes, all 4 of them) might think that all I do is go some place and eat.
I can cook. I love to cook. I just don't have the time to do so.
My father was the great cook in the family -- my mother didn't even know how to cook rice. Although she was terrific at teaching someone from a recipe -- but that's a story for another time.
Ever since I could remember, my father ruled our kitchen. He cooked from ouido -- by taste, by feel, by look, by gut.
No recipes for him. If I wanted to learn how to cook something, all I had to do was stay in the kitchen and watch.
He had his favorite dishes and his "most requested" foods. These were the ones I picked up and learned -- nothing was ever written down... the ingredients, the process, the tastes -- they're all part of my memories.
Thus, I can cook morcon, embotido, a unique meatball or bola bola recipe that I have yet to find anywhere else plus the other stand bys ... sinigang, pochero, asado, humba, menudo, afritada ...
So much meat!
But daddy also loved fish and seafood so I can also cook paksiw na kitang, sinigang na kanduli, pesang dalag, adobong hito and tocho with tahure.
In my mind, he "invented" lumpiang bangus, which we were eating long before I saw it on any restaurant menu. I spent many afternoons deboning the steamed bangus -- which would be mixed with gisantes, minced fried potatoes, plump raisins and then sauteed, rolled up in lumpia wrappers and fried -- a typical meatless Friday dish!
From him, I also learned to make adobong alimango, made only with the freshest and fattest female crabs from his hometown, Orani Bataan.

But for now, this post is about mechado, cooked the way my father used to do it.
My son had been badgering me to make this dish -- one of my father's favorites.
So I hied off to Cash and Carry supermarket where they can insert a whole, uncut length of pork taba or lard in the center of a roll of beef.
This is the "mitsa" or wick -- hence the name mechado.
A lot of people think mechado is just beef stew with beef chunks but daddy never used anything but this roll of beef with the "mitsa" of pork lard in the center.
After cooking and simmering this more than 2 kilo cut of mechado beef for over 4 hours, it's tender and flavorful, having soaked up the goodness from the tomatoes, onions, chorizos, carrots and potatoes, not to mention, the beef stock made from scratch using beef shin bones.
The "mitsa" of pork lard in the center which extends throughout the beef roll -- helps makes each slice just a bit more juicy and savory.

I serve the mechado sliced with some of the sauce, the potatoes, carrots, chorizos and the beef shins which yield a good amount of sinful yet utterly delicious beef marrow.
Scoop out the marrow and put it on top of rice for the total mechado experience!
My father sure knew how to eat!
See that small piece of pork lard or "mitsa" at the center of the beef slice -- daddy and I used to enjoy that as the last melt-in-your-mouthful treat ... truly a great finish to another memorable meal!


  1. Nonna, I'm enjoying reading your blog posts! Will share this with my readers. Love the Mechado memories of your father! Thanks for sharing! Hugs, BETTY ANN

  2. Im looking for mechado recipes and this is the most impressive mechado I've seen so far. Too bad, I don't think I have the skills (nor the patience) to whip up something like this. I wish I had a Dad like yours :)


    1. Dear Mr Jarin,
      The mechado is very easy to make. Just get the right cut of beef with mitsa, rub with salt or with soy sauce and set aside. Boil beef bones for stock, reserving some of the shin bones with marrow. Saute onions and garlic, chorizo. Put the beef roll and lightly brown. Pour beef stock, canned whole tomatoes and shin bones. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours over low heat or till meat is tender. Keep shin bones upright while cooking so marrow does not spill out. Put a laurel leaf for aroma. Enjoy and thank you for your kind comments!