How to make Cuban Picadillo

How to make Cuban Picadillo

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.

 

 

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Cuban Picadillo
This is a recipe for a traditional Cuban Picadillo that doesn't break the bank and that every Cuban should know how to make.
Hungry Doug- Cuban Picadillo
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Hungry Doug- Cuban Picadillo
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, start to brown the ground beef with the green pepper and onion.
  2. Once browned, drain the grease from the saucepan.
  3. Combine all the other ingredients and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. 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.
Recipe Notes

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!

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5 Basic Cuban Foods EVERYONE needs to try

5 Basic Cuban Foods EVERYONE needs to try

When you think of Cuba, what do you think?  Mojitos? Cigars?  Old Cars?  What if I told you that Cuba had one of the best food cuisines in the world? You don’t have to leave the United States even to get some of the best Cuban Food in the world.  The capital of Cuban cuisine isn’t in Havana, it is in Miami.  Next time you are down that way, go experience all the love that is Cuban cuisine.

Don’t believe me?  Give any of these 5 dishes a taste, and you will be coming back for more.

Picadillo

Every Cuban knows what Picadillo is, knows how it is served, and can cook it with their eyes closed.  It is the basic staple food for all Cubans and many other dishes depend on it as well.  The mashup of ground beef, tomato sauce, and spices is served over rice is a classic dish you need to try.  Different variations include raisins or potatoes in the recipe.  Now before you go try and mess with perfection, try my recipe down below before adding anything extra.

To find out how to make it, click here.

Cuban Sandwich

How can you have a Cuban food list without including a classic Cuban Sandwich.  Here in the United States, we have different variations of this, but there is one common thread.  It has Roasted Pork, Ham, Swiss Cheese, Yellow Mustard, and Pickles.  Wrap all that up in a fresh French Bread and toast it and you mi amigo, have a perfect Cuban Sandwich.  

To find out how to make it, click here.

Arroz con Pollo

Not that into red meat?  Ready for a classic that never gets old?  Come have some Arroz con Pollo.  Literally, it means Chicken and Rice.  A flavorful dish centered on a nice Spanish Rice with many different vegitables keeps you coming back.  Nothing fancy, just good old comfort food.

To find out how to make it, click here.

Ropa Vieja with Plantains, White Rice, and Black Beans

Ropa Vieja

Few dishes that I prepare get more fuss than the classic Ropa Vieja.  Literally meaning Old Clothes, Ropa Vieja is a slow simmered beef dish with onions and peppers usually served with white rice and a side of Black Beans.  Using a cut of Beef that is typically very tough and stringy, when you cook the meat on slow, add a whole bunch of spices, tomato sauce, onions, and peppers, you get a beautiful symphony of flavors.  

 To find out how to make it, click here.

Sides: Black Beans, Croquetas, Pasteles de Carne, Plantains

The last dish on our journey isnt a dish at all, they are the sides.  While each one of these dishes is amazing in and of itself, you have to get the full effect of Cuban cuisine by adding any one or all of the following:

Black Beans: Just how Abuelita used to make.  Simmering on the stove since the morning.  Heavy on the spices and a perfect accompaniment to any Cuban Dish.

Croquetas: A rich Ham Croquette served on the side.  Eat just one, or take the whole plato.  

Pasteles de Carne:  A perfect way to use up that Picadillo that has been sitting in the fridge.  Delicious puff paistry with a honey glaze makes this a perfect appetizer.

Plantains:  No latin dish is complete without fried plantains.  You know you saw your grandmothers Plantain smasher and thought you could make them yourself.  Now you can, and you will never turn back.

To find out how to make Croquetas, click here.

To find out how to make Pasteles de Carne, click here.

To find out how to make Plantains, click here.

Cuban Ham Croquettes (Croquetas de Jamon)

Cuban Ham Croquettes (Croquetas de Jamon)

HEY MAN, YOU KNOW I’M HALF CUBAN RIGHT?

You should see the looks I get.  I am probably one of the whitest Latinos you have ever seen.  I guess my 1/4 Irish and 1/4 English heritage won out on the looks department.  THAT BEING SAID…Let us take a look at one of the staple appetizers in the Cuban household.

HAM CROQUETTES

They can be served with anything for any occasion.  Being that they take a long time to make, it isn’t something that you can whip up in a few minutes.  You need to plan to make them.


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Cuban Ham Croquettes

A classic Cuban appetizer that is a staple for any Cuban dish or party.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Cuban

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 3-4 hours

Servings
Croquettes


Ingredients
Croquettes

Dipping Sauce

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Cuban

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 3-4 hours

Servings
Croquettes


Ingredients
Croquettes

Dipping Sauce


Instructions
Directions
  1. Throw the ham in a blender or food processor. Keep going until you get a total of 2 cups of pureed ham.

  2. Combine milk, flour, salt and pepper and set aside.

  3. Melt the butter in a 2 qt. pot and saute onions over medium heat until translucent.

  4. Add the milk mixture and stir constantly over med-hi heat until the mixture begins to thicken into a dough-like consistency.

  5. Remove from the heat, add the minced ham to the mixture and combined until it is thoroughly mixed.

  6. At this stage, you will want to transfer the “masa” to a bowl and put in the fridge to chill for several hours or put in the freezer until the masa is firm but not frozen.

  7. When the masa is firm enough, take a tablespoon of meat in your hands and roll it like a small hot dog and continue until you’ve made approximately 16 croquettes. If you make them small/party size, you’ll end up with roughly 30-35 of them. Place the croquettes in a container that will fit in your freezer, using a sheet of wax paper in between the stacks.

Breading and Frying
  1. Beat the two eggs and spread the cracker meal on a plate or shallow surface. Dip croquettes in the egg, then cracker meal, twice.

  2. Heat the oil in a pan or deep fryer to 375 degrees. Fry croquettes until golden brown. Transfer from pan to paper towels, to soak up excess oil.

  3. Enjoy!


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