June 23, 2007

short ribs mechado

Mechado is another well known Filipino dish with Spanish influence. The main ingredient is supposed to be a chunk of pot roast beef which is braised for hours in a basic tomatoes, garlic and onion mixture seasoned with a little soy sauce, salt and pepper. In the Philippines, we would often ask our favorite meat vendor to prepare the beef for mechado for us. It has been traditional for mechado beef to have this strip of pork fat in the middle of the beef slab. What they would usually do is make a small incision all the way through the middle of the meat and thread a long piece of pork fat about an inch in diameter through the incision. They would refer to this process or technique as "micha" or wick as in a candle. For this mechado version, I tried using short ribs instead. Watching Paula Deen on her Food Network show where she made some kind of a braised barbecue short ribs gave me the idea to use them for the mechado. Inspirations in the kitchen come from many sources indeed. The short ribs mechado was no disappoinment, full of flavor and very tender. The only concern I had was it was swimming in fat which was no surprise because of the many layers of fat in the ribs, but the layers of fat is what makes them just melt in your mouth. I seared the short rib pieces in olive oil until browned on all sides, then I transferred and set them aside in a foil-covered tray. In the same skillet, I sauteed the minced garlic, sliced onions and cut up tomatoes for a few minutes. Then I returned the ribs to simmer for awhile before adding a little soy sauce, red wine vinegar, a little brown sugar, tomato sauce, bay leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Braised for hours until very tender when the meat was falling off the bone, this mechado dish may also be made in a slowcooker, something I have to try next time.

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