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.
This is a recipe for a traditional Cuban Picadillo that doesn't break the bank and that every Cuban should know how to make.
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!
One of the best things about cooking Cuban cuisine is the wide use of Pork. It is a very cheap animal to raise and perfect for the Island nation. One of the most popular ways to cook Pork is with this simple recipe for Masitas de Puerco.
Masitas de Puerco is a delicious dish that can be served as a main dish with rice, beans, and plantains. (You will find that to be the case with most Cuban dishes) or served as finger food for any fiesta. It is extremely easy to make and packed full of flavor.
Click here for the Cuban Mojo recipe.
Masitas de Puerco
Delicious Marinated Pork Chunks. They can be served as a main dish or even as an appetizer with toothpicks.
Start making the Mojo. A link to the recipe is found above.
Cube the pork into bite sized pieces.
Combine the Cumin and Mojo into a bowl and whisk thouroughly. Add the cubed pork chunks and add the Bay Leaves. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in the fridge overnight.
When you are ready to cook the meal, take it out of the fridge and fry up on medium high heat. Remove the Bay leaves of course. Use the excess Mojo to cook with the Pork. When the pork is nice and brown and crispy, add the onions and cook until the onions are translucent.
Serve with Rice, Beans, and plantains or just place on a serving dish and ENJOY!