Picadillo Recipe

It seems that every culture has their version of chili. And for the Cuban culture, it is no exception! My introduction to picadillo; a mélange of beef, sauteed vegetables and spices, came exceedingly early in my life watching my grandfather’s Cuban housekeeper prepare picadillo for him in his Miami home. She had come to Miami from Cuba in the first wave of newly arrived immigrants to the United States. As much as my Jewish grandfather loved his matzo ball soup, potato latkes and challah bread, he absolutely adored the Cuban picadillo she lovingly made for him. It is one of the most comforting dishes you can prepare, and the aroma will fill your kitchen with love.

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red or green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup diced canned tomatoes.
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • ½ cup pimento-stuffed olives plus 2 Tbsp of the brine
  • 2 Tbsp capers

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and peppers and sauté for 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and the bay leaves. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 5 minutes until the wine is completely reduced.

3. Add the ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, raisins, olives, the brine, and capers.

4. Cover and lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Can be simmered longer.

5. Remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Recipe Credit: Robyn Webb