Friday, May 17, 2013
PICADILLO...Cuban Comfort Food
Picadillo translates to ground meat or hash. It's a dish that just about every culture has in it's culinary libraries. While searching for some recipe suggestions, I found this dish made with everything from ground beef and/or pork, to mangoes and plantains. It is usually served with rice...better yet, ON rice. (My sister-in-law adds raw rice to the dish while it's cooking and tops it with sharp cheddar cheese. She calls her dish "Ranch Style Hash".)
I always thought my grandmother's and my mother's Picadillo recipes were pretty good...until I tasted my high school Spanish teacher's version. She invited the class to her home and taught us to prepare Picadillo. Oh....I was in heaven! Her version of this delicious dish included lots of green olives and RAISINS. The piquant and sweet tastes, blending with the onions, garlic, and tomatoes set off rockets on my taste buds...and in my soul!!! Senora Perrado, if you by chance read this blog...My family thanks you!
As I have said many times before...I do not measure most ingredients, so I am guessing as I go along. You can adjust the dish to your taste. Just remember, the longer the dish simmers, the better it tastes!
1 pound ground chuck
1 large can diced tomatoes (I like to use the boxed tomatoes by Pomi)
1 small onion, diced
garlic cloves (I use 3-5), smashed
1/2 cup green olives w/ pimento
1/2 cup raisins (I use more)
Cumin or Crushed Red Pepper (if desired)
* Please note, most recipes for Picadillo are made with "sofrito"...the Hispanic "holy trinity" of onion, garlic and green pepper. I don't use green pepper...It doesn't like me.
In a skillet (I use my electric skillet), saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Add the ground beef and brown it until no longer red. Drain off the excess oils...if desired. Add tomatoes and simmer. Add green olives and raisins...as many as you wish (I like a lot!). You can use the whole olive or slice them. Be sure to use the pimento, too! Season to taste, using salt, pepper and cumin or crushed red pepper (if desired). Simmer at least 30 minutes...better if it cooks longer...best if it sits in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Serve over rice. I prefer white or brown rice with this dish. (Many of the local Spanish restaurants use yellow rice.)
*You may wish to add more tomatoes or some tomato sauce to the recipe.
To complete your meal, add a salad and some crusty bread (Cuban, if you can get it). I often like to serve plantains with this dish...
If you have leftovers, try the Picadillo on a pizza crust, topped with sharp cheddar cheese. Or make an empanada pastry, cut into squares and place in a couple of spoonfuls of the picadillo on the dough. Fold into a triangle and seal the edges. Bake these on a Silpat or prepared baking pan until golden brown.
Check out Foodie Friday for more recipes.