“Picadillo” means savory ground beef. It seems every Cuban cook has a it’s own special way of making picadillo. Tia Esther, my husband’s aunt, taught me how to cook this dish during one of our visits to Florida. Here’s my own version of this Cuban delight.
There are those who believe that picadillo must be simmered for hours for the best flavour, others believe that you only need to make a quick sauté (sofrito), mix all the ingredients and cook for a few minutes. In the recipe instructions I have provided two variations, a long simmering version using a Crockpot and a shorter version using a skillet.
I normally break down the meat clumps using my hands before transferring the ground beef to the Crockpot. Just make sure to stir the mix a couple of times while cooking to avoid clumping.
You could also replace the ground beef with ground pork or chicken.
For a real Cuban feast, serve with white rice, black beans soup and fried plantains (tostones). In a Cuban restaurant we visited in old Havana, I noticed they skipped the capers and olives and added fried potatoes and served it with a fried egg on top. At home I serve it with sunny side up eggs, banana and avocado salad.
I will provide a recipe for Cuban Black Beans on my next post.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, for frying
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced or 1 tsp. of garlic powder
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 1 large green or red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon, optional
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 3 large Roma tomatoes, chopped or one cup of canned tomato
- 2 tbsp. of tomato paste
- ½ cup green olives, whole or chopped
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 2 tsp. salt and black pepper to taste
- Fresh oregano, optional
- Place the meat, tomatoes, onions and the remaining ingredients in the crockpot or slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- Breakdown any meat clumps with a wooden spoon after 2-3 hours.
- Sauté garlic, onion and green or red pepper in olive oil for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
- Add the cumin, cinnamon and oregano. Stir for a few minutes.
- Add the ground meat and mix with the onions and peppers; cook until the meat is browned for about 5-10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add olives and raisins; simmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- It's typically serve with rice, fried banana and sunny side up eggs.