Picadillo: A Classic Cuban Dish

I've been in a bit of cooking rut as of late, but driven by my hunger for more flavorful and vivid dishes I've looked outside the border for new ideas. Picadillo is a classic Cuban dish that integrates ground beef with well-seasoned tomato sauce, fried potatoes, olives and raisins. Considered a comfort dish it is prepared frequently and typically served with rice and beans or stuffed in tacos or a chili pepper.  I imagine it would also be delicious with fried plantains. Packed with a broad range of spices, flavors and goody nibs, I can see why this dish is a staple across dinner tables in Cuba.

From Food & Wine magazine
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1 1/3 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes (one 15-ounce can)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 pound baking potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup quartered and pitted green olives
  1. In a large stainless-steel frying pan, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the beer, tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, and Tabasco sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the potatoes, raisins, and olives to the meat mixture. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are just done, about 10 minutes longer.


Mari said...

Your picadillo looks scrumptious! It's delicious with rice and some fried yellow plantains :)


kale said...

I've never had this dish, but as usual, you make me want to try something new! The olives are a nice surprise. :)

Belinda @zomppa said...

You did this one beautifully! Going to have to try this....

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I can totally see why this is a comfort food dish!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I can totally see why this is a comfort food dish!

tasteofbeirut said...

I could snarf a picadillo any day! Love this dish and the recipe! Thanks so much!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

My latest recipe post is from Food & Wine also! So many wonderful recipes from that magazine. This sounds so full and flavor and delicious!

lostpastremembered said...

I know what I'm making tonight... perfect dish for a Friday supper (to watch Fringe with!). I'll make a few flour tortillas to eat it with and I'm good to go.

Claudia said...

I've never tried this and must do it. Love the spices and then the surprise of the raisins.

kat said...

That is interesting. Sounds like something we would love around this house!

About Last Weekend said...

Vivid is a great word, I love food that tastes of lots of things especially cumin!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

This is the perfect dish for getting out of a rut with the touches of cumin and coriander, followed by the raisins and olives. Besides, it's so beautiful too. It would definitely be good with plantains.

nancy at good food matters said...

Great idea for a change of tastes. I rarely cook (or eat, for that matter)Cuban food, although I think it's quite good.

Lori said...

This dish looks so good. I need to explore more Cuban cuisine. I've been to a restaurant or two, but haven't taken it on in my kitchen. I'll have to use this as inspiration!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

A friend I used to work with would bring the best picadillo for lunch and sometimes share with me. I'm bookmarking this dish! It sounds & looks amazing!

Magic of Spice said...

Fantastic looking picadillo, so flavorful!

OysterCulture said...

I cooked up a Cuban storm this weekend and I'd been craving a pot full of this dish. Love it, I'll have to try your recipe.

Ko said...

Everything you do, They look delicious and best!
I spent few weeks in Cuba 5 years ago for listing music. I stayed most of time at family homes. Yes I had this dish often. However most of people are very poor (but happy and kind)compare to our standard that they don't have much seasonings beside salt.