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.
|Prep Time||5 minutes|
|Cook Time||30 minutes|
- 1 pound groud beef The leaner the better
- 1 Green Pepper chopped fine
- 1 Onion Diced
- 1 can Tomato Sauce
- 1 small can Tomato Paste
- 1/2 cup Green Olives Sliced
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Cilantro for Garnish
- In a large skillet, start to brown the ground beef with the green pepper and onion.
- Once browned, drain the grease from the saucepan.
- Combine all the other ingredients and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Remove that Bay Leaf and serve it up over some rice and add the cilantro and WHAM, you will be craving Mojitos and Cuban Cigars in no time.
There is a topic of hot debate among Cuban households, and that is the addition of Potatoes and Raisins to the mix. My family are Picadillo purists and those things are blasphemy. If you would like to adulterate the recipe with raisins and potatoes, be my guest. The wonderful thing about Picadillo is that it is very forgiving, so experiment away!