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When choosing what meal to make for the day, comfort is one utmost priority. We love a dish that’s familiar to us without being tiring or repetitive—one that easily puts a smile on your face. And simmering in an array of hearty, filling ingredients, chicken mechado is a comfort stew for the ages. This tomato-based dish consists of regular components you can find at home. But what’s so magical about chicken mechado is how it can take things that are so ordinary and turn them into something great.
One thing we love about food is when it’s as appealing visually as it is to our taste buds—and chicken mechado is no different. Beyond every bite oozing yumminess, this dish is a visual treat. Bell peppers, potatoes, and other ingredients lend their bright colors to this Filipino favorite. Our use of tomato sauce doesn’t go without notice, either! Chicken mechado, like other Filipino tomato stews, is bright and vibrant with the colors of this fruit … or is it a vegetable? Either way, it’s tasty all the same!
Where did chicken mechado come from?
This scrumptious slow cook stew has graced Filipino tables for as long as anyone can remember. Like many of our dishes, chicken mechado—and mechado in general, really—is inspired by the culinary methods of Spain. The original version of this dish is actually one you make with beef. Fun fact: Did you know that the name mechado comes from the Spanish mecha, meaning candle wick? This is because mechado’s beef resembled that of a candle!
Over time, our love for mechado has definitely, doubtlessly grown. Newer and more modern versions of this dish have changed things from the protein to additional add ons. For instance, pork mechado is another variation of this delicious dish that uses juicy and tasty pork instead of the sumptuous beef. Chicken mechado is not only more affordable and accessible, but it’s a healthy alternative for those who want less fat but the same flavors.
What sets chicken mechado apart?
With the many mouthwatering dishes Filipino cuisine has to offer, it’s sometimes hard to find what each one’s unique selling point is. Even among tomato-based stews alone, chicken mechado has quite the competition. Caldereta, afritada, and menudo are other Filipino favorites that make use of the bright and vibrant tomato. So how does mechado measure up and set itself apart from the rest?
The answer lies in the marinade we use for braising the meat. Beyond just the tomato sauce, soy sauce and lemon (sometimes people use calamansi) are equally important in bringing out that rich mechado flavor. This combination of tartness and umami tastes is definitely one chicken mechado can easily lord over other dishes. It cuts through the rich and refreshing taste of tomato, adding more layers and depth that avoid making it a one-track mind dish. And anyone who’s ever had chicken mechado knows that this is definitely the tasty, yummy result!
Chicken mechado isn’t just delicious, but it’s also incredibly easy to make! You’ll have to set aside some time to do so, considering how long your chicken needs in the pan, but the results are definitely worth it. What are you waiting for? Let’s get to cooking chicken mechado today!
How to make chicken mechado
Let’s start with the basics of cooking anything: preparation! Slice 2 potatoes and cut your chicken into serving pieces. Chop your onion and garlic, and ensure your other ingredients are at the ready. Then we can really begin making your filling and satisfying chicken mechado.
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan, then fry your potatoes for 3 minutes per side. After removing them from the pan, sauté your onion and garlic. Soften your onions before adding your chicken pieces to the pan, which you will now sauté for 3 to 4 minutes more. Pour in your soy sauce next; 3 tablespoons should be enough.
After cooking your chicken in soy sauce for one minute, add 8 ounces of tomato sauce and a cup of water. Bring this combination to a boil, then in goes your Knorr Chicken Cube for that extra flavor. Toss in your laurel leaves, then cover the pan and bring your heat down low. Your chicken mechado should now cook for about 40 minutes to let the flavors of your marinade really seep into the meat.
After adding some lemon zest and your bell peppers (if you want it!), cook your mechado for 3 minutes more. Your fried potatoes go back in the pot, alongside some sugar for extra sweetness. For 2 minutes, cook your chicken mechado before seasoning with salt and ground black pepper. Stir it one more time to incorporate all your yummy elements together—and then you’re done!
Transfer your chicken mechado to a serving bowl, and serve it warm with white rice. Make sure that you have enough for seconds and thirds!
The perfect combination of sweet and savory, this chicken mechado is a treat for your whole family! Share and enjoy, and don’t forget to let us know what you think!
- Heat oil in a pan. Fry the potatoes for 3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan. Set aside.
- Sauté onion and garlic until the former softens.
- Add chicken pieces. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add tomato sauce and water. Let it boil.
- Add Knorr Chicken Cube and laurel leaves. Cover the pan. Adjust the heat to the lowest setting. Continue cooking for 40 minutes.
- Add lemon zest and bell pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Put the sugar and fried potato in the pot. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Season with salt and ground black pepper.
- Serve warm with rice. Share and enjoy!