Picadillo is a traditional dish from many Latin American countries and my homelands as well. It’s the “Cuban Hamburger Helper” because it’s a quick hash-like dish made with ground meat, tomato sauce and the Cuban trinity – sofrito. We typically serve picadillo over a bed of steamed white rice and a hefty serving of platanos maduros. It’s a great and easy meal to enjoy whenever you want a piece of the Caribbean in your kitchen. Also, this is one of my husband’s trademark dishes that he used to make for me whenever he cooked meals for me. He learned this dish from his beloved grandmother who taught him a thing or two about a couple Cuban dishes.
This is not a new recipe on my blog but I figured it was time to update the recipe and the picture as well. In time, I have improved this recipe to my liking and can make this dish at moment’s notice. There are variations of this dish using only ground beef but I find that using two mixtures of protein add extra flavor and variety to the dish. If you unsure of using raisins or green olives in the dish, I would strongly advise to try it out. It brings out the sweet and savory flavors that you will fall in love with this dish.
Cuban Picadillo (Cuban Ground Beef)
Adapted from hubby
1 pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork (Or you can use all ground beef)
¾ cup of raisins
½ cup of pimiento-stuffed green olives
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ tablespoons of Olive oil
(2) 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of cumin
a pinch of cumin seeds
1 ½ teaspoons of Complete Seasoning **Mainly sold at latin supermarkets**
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Prepare the sofrito, which is the Cuban trinity, consisting of onions, garlic & bell peppers and let sauté until softened and tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute until slightly golden.
Add ground beef and ground pork to the pan and cook until no longer pink. Add the cumin, cumin seeds, complete seasoning, tomato sauce, dry white wine vinegar, bay leaves, pimentos, and raisins. Bring the heat to a low simmer and cook until picadillo thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the chopped cilantro and discard the bay leaves. Serve picadillo over a bed of white rice, and plantains on the side.
Yield: 8 large servings (about 1 ½ cups)
Review: This is a hearty Cuban meal that is always in rotation in our house. It also helps that this is one of the few dishes that Eric doesn’t mind eating for three days straight. Plus you can use the leftover meat as filling for making savory pastelitos. Use frozen pie dough or pastry sheets and add a tablespoon of meat filling, and bake until cooked. It’s another Cuban dish that is always delicious!