If you are part of a Cuban family, I don’t need to explain the amazingness of picadillo to you. You already know that it’s the ultimate Cuban comfort food. But if you’ve never had or even heard of picadillo you’re probably wondering, “what’s so great about this ground beef concoction?” Well it’s savory ground beef in a tomato based sauce with spices and a few extra goodies. I know it doesn’t sound particularly exciting…but it’s just plain good! I promise 🙂
Picadillo is one of those meals that is complete comfort food to me. My (American) husband thinks I’m crazy but I could eat it a couple times a week and never get sick of it! It’s nothing fancy or complicated, but to me, it’s the perfect meal. And if you’re wondering why there’s a banana in the photo…well that’s my Cuban roots. I can’t eat picadillo without a banana on the side. There’s something about that salty/sweet combination that’s just perfection.
It start with the same base as any good Cuban recipe…onions, green peppers, and garlic.
And this is not a sponsored “Adobo” post but I love the stuff so much that I’m going to go ahead and give them a shout out here. If you don’t have adobo in your pantry…go get some right now! If your grocery store doesn’t sell it, you can find it here. You could sprinkle it on a shoe and it would taste amazing. It’s basically a mix of salt, garlic powder, turmeric, and a few other things. I use it more often than I use salt and pepper and this dish is no different.
Now I’m not big olive fan, but there’s something about them that’s just perfect in picadillo. If you don’t like olives though, you can leave them out and it’ll still be great! And you don’t need any fancy olives, just the jarred, pimento-stuffed olives. I slice mine in half but you can leave them whole or dice them up small if you’d like.
Once you add the tomato sauce and paste and seasonings, you just let it simmer for 15 minutes and it will thicken up and be ready to serve!
I like to serve mine over a big bowl of white rice. I just use my rice cooker and it comes out perfectly every time! If you don’t have a rice cooker HERE’S ONE that’s great. Not only do they cook rice but you can steam veggies, and make oatmeal, cook pasta…a rice cooker is an essential in my kitchen!
I hope you enjoy this picadillo dish and find as much comfort in it as I do. And by the way, it’s very kid friendly! My kids have been devouring this stuff since they first were able to chew! (I do leave out the olives for them thought because…toddlers) 🙂
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 1/2 large green pepper - diced
- 2 large cloves of garlic - minced
- 1 and 1/2 lb ground beef (I use lean)
- 1/2 tsp adobo seasoning (if you don't have this...go out and get some asap!! It's the best)
- 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup pimento stuffed olives plus 1 tbsp of the brine from the jar (I just slice my olives in half but you can leave them hole or dice them finely)
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp sugar
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add in your olive oil and then add your chopped peppers and onions. Saute until they are soft. It usually takes about 5 minutes.
After the 5 minutes, add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add in the ground beef and sprinkle with the adobo seasoning. I have to be honest, I never measure this. I just sprinkle it all around the beef. It does have salt in it though so if you are sensitive to salt, try not to go over the 1/2 teaspoon.
Cook the meat until it's browned then add in the rest of the ingredients. (tomato sauce, tomato paste, white wine, olives and brine, sugar, and cumin)
Stir everything to combine and cook uncovered for 15 minutes over low heat.
I know some traditional Cuban picadillo recipes contain raisins. If you'd like to include them, just add in 1/4 of raisins when you add in the olives. 🙂