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What Is Discada?

Eugene P.
Eugene P.

Discada is the name given to both a Mexican meat dish and the pan in which it is cooked. The pan is made from a circular metal piece of farming equipment. The recipe that gets its name from being cooked in the pan is a collection of different types of meat along with some vegetables that are cooked slowly in batches until done. The main idea behind discada is to make a meal from ingredients that are relatively inexpensive or left from other dishes in a way that is convenient and yields a good result, especially for large groups of people. The finished dish can be served with guacamole, pico de Gallo or folded into tortillas to make tacos.

Although discada can be made in any sufficiently large, heavy-bottomed pan, it gets its name from a distinctive type of pan used in Mexico. The pan is made from a round piece of metal that is actually a component of farming equipment. The disc is hammered out so it forms a shallow dish, not unlike a wok. Much like a paella pan or a large grill, there are different areas of high and low heat, allowing food to be moved to different areas of the discada so it can cook more quickly or more slowly. This particular feature is used prominently in the meat recipe that bears the name of the pan.

A jalapeno pepper, a common ingredient in discada.
A jalapeno pepper, a common ingredient in discada.

The meats that are used are really a collection of common cuts and sausages that might be readily available. Beef — particularly flank steak — bacon, chorizo and pork or ham are found in most recipes. Some variations call for a more Italian-style pork sausage or uncooked hot dogs, reflecting the dish's goal of using inexpensive ingredients. There also are recipes that use two different cuts of beef, one lean and one fatty, so enough fat is produced to make a sauce.

Discada may be served with guacamole.
Discada may be served with guacamole.

The preparation starts by heating the discada pan with some oil and then adding the bacon so the fat renders out of it. This is followed by the chorizo. When these meats have released their fat, a hole is made in the center of the ingredients in the pan and the cooked meats are pushed up to the edges, where there is less heat than in the center. Next, the ham or pork is added and cooked, followed finally by the beef. At each point, the previous meat is pushed away from the center, creating concentric rings of different kinds of meat.

One result of cooking the meat in this way is that a collection of liquid and fat will collect in the bottom of the discada, forming a kind of natural sauce. Diced tomatoes, onions and a significant amount of jalapeno peppers are layered on top of the meat before the dish is covered and allowed to simmer until the vegetables are soft and have release all their liquid. The finished meat can be plated as a very hearty main course or used as a filling for tacos.

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    • A jalapeno pepper, a common ingredient in discada.
      By: epantha
      A jalapeno pepper, a common ingredient in discada.
    • Discada may be served with guacamole.
      By: Stuart Monk
      Discada may be served with guacamole.