Picadillo is beloved by many and aside from lechon asado, is as close to a Cuban national dish as there is. Picadillo is versatile, as evidenced by the awesome empanadas and pastelitos you can make with it on days 2 and 3.


2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups chopped onion (one medium)
1.5 cups chopped green/red bell pepper (one medium)
2 pounds lean-ish (85/15 or 90/10) ground beef
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup dry sherry plus a splash
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water (the aforementioned beefy trick)
20 or so pimento stuffed, manzanilla olives cut in half
20-30 raisins (golden are fine)
1+ tsp salt

1 wholepeeled, cubed, fried red potato
1/2 cupPeti Pua (for non-Francophiles, that would be peas)
1 dozen capers instead of, or in addition to, olives


  1. Place a large sauce pan or a dutch oven over medium-high heat and allow it come to temperature, about 5 minutes. Add the oil, wait 30 seconds or so for the oil to get hot and add the onion, bell pepper. 
  2. Cook for about 3 minutes until the onion is soft. Add a sprinkle of salt and then the ground beef and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, mix the ground beef with the sofrito vegetables. The main goal here is to break up any large clumps of the meat. Also, when stirring, make sure you are lifting from the bottom as you do not want the meat to burn (it will get dry and tough). 
  3. Stir continuously, the meat will release a lot of liquid and fat and this is a good thing. If you have to make do with fattier ground beef, use a spoon to skim some, not all, the fat off the top. Do that now.
  4. .....
  5. Visit Picadillo @ www.arrozyfrijoles.com for complete directions

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