Cuban Picadillo…Anyone that has ANY Cuban blood in them can make Picadillo from scratch, it’s a known fact. It is the most basic of recipes that are simple to make, doesn’t break the bank, and is done in a matter of minutes. When I was growing up, this was one of my mom’s go-to recipes when there wasn’t a lot of time and people were hungry. I mean, how basic can you get with ground beef, olives, and tomato sauce and spices.
Origins of Picadillo
Many picadillo recipes derive from the one that Nitza Villapol put in her cookbook “Cocina Criolla,” published in 1954. Villapol, a writer and television host, was the closest thing Cuba has had to a Julia Child. Her shows were broadcast there for more than 40 years, and her cookbooks were a mainstay of Cuban home cooking from the 1959 revolution until her death in 1998.
Cortina’s first picadillo was a Villapol recipe, she said. Her mother had packed her off to Gainesville with the cookbook. “It was probably just beef and raisins then,” she said of her early attempts at the dish. “The first time, I skipped the tomatoes entirely.”
Picadillo roughly translates from the Spanish as “mince.” The dish bears some resemblance to American sloppy joes, or to hash. Some cooks use tomato sauce in the base. (Cortina’s mother, for one.) Others insist on fresh tomatoes.
Source: The New York Times
Take note, this meat is also used as a filling in several different recipes including Papas Rellenas and Empanadas. You can serve it on Potatoes, Rice, in a sandwich, or as a side dish.