Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mangonett's Picadillo!

Last night was a culinary success, so to speak. I managed to make my first Cuban picadillo with rice! Picadillo is a traditional Cuban dish, mainly made up of ground meat with Cuban seasonings and some veggies mixed in, usually you serve it with white rice and black beans. It has been one of my favorite dishes ever since I was a little kid, so I decided to try making it. I found a great recipe for Cuban-Style Picadillo on, which was pretty simple and added a few of my own touches along the way:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
6 Turkish bay leaves
2 pounds ground beef (15 to 20 percent fat)
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup sliced drained pimiento-stuffed green olives (from 5-ounce jar)
1/4 cup tomato paste1
1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Cooking Instructions
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add beef; sauté until cooked, breaking up with back of fork, about 7 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer until picadillo thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves. Serve picadillo warm.

Mangonett's Tweeks

- I'm not a big fan of raisins or olives, so I left those out

- Growing up, my grandmothers always added dices potatoes, peas, and carrots to their picadillo. I added about 2 medium sized potatoes, diced. You don't really need to cook them before you put them in the picadillo, they will cook with all the juices, plus if you cook them first, when you mix them in, they will get crushed and you'll have mashed potatoes instead. About half a can of peas were added and I sliced up a carrot stick.

- I didn't add in the cayenne pepper or chili powder, instead I seasoned with salt and pepper and some traditional Cuban seasonings that you find at the market.

- I used a leaner meat with about 10% fat in it, rather than 15-20%. Less fat resulted in a thicker picadillo, versus the more "watery" kind from the meat with more fat in it. It's totally up to you what to use, I was just trying something a little healthier from my old-school grandmas!

- I served it on white rice that I made in the rice cooker...yummy!

Total Time: 40 minutes Servings: 6