My mother never liked beef it stemmed from her childhood experience of being served 'beef' when it fact it was kalabaw (water buffalo) meat. It was wartime and meat was in very short supply. They have to make do with whatever they have. They were actually lucky to have kalabaw meat although I think the poor beast died that's why they have to slaughter it. Somehow it tasted so ma-anggo (very beefy) for her that she never ate any ever again in her life. The banned clique included venison, mutton, and lamb. But she was also determined that her children should not be visited by this prejudice on certain red meats so she periodically fed us beef. One of the more frequent dishes she served was mechado. Although she never tasted it as she cooked, it was nevertheless good. This is her recipe although the lemon slice, I got that from Nora Daza, is just to give a little acid kick. Do not attempt to put a slice from a waxed lemon or to cook it for a long time or you will have a somewhat bitter aftertaste in the dish.
1 kg stewing beef - cut into serving size pieces
3 Tbsp oil
4 cloves garlic - minced/mashed
1 onion - chopped
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp peppercorn
500 g passata (tomato sauce) [about 2 cups]
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
2 potatoes - quartered and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 carrot - cut into 1/2 inch round
1 slice unwaxed lemon
- Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan or pot. Brown beef briefly in oil and set aside.
- In the same pan saute garlic and onion for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
- Add in browned beef, tomato sauce, water, laurel leaf, soy sauce, peppercorn, salt, and lemon slice.
- Bring to boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove lemon slice.
- Simmer and cook for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until beef is tender.
- Add in potatoes and carrots. Cook for a further 10 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are cooked. Serve.