Saturday, October 4, 2008


"Pica-what?" If you haven't heard about it before, picadillo is a classic Cuban dish, and it's very popular because it has both sweet and savory flavors. This is easy to make, and every Cuban cook probably has their own version of it. I realized earlier this week that I haven't made this in ages, and I wanted something with rice for dinner. Picadillo is usually served with white rice, and I had a whole bag of it in the pantry, plus some potatoes left over from making the pot roast, and some peas and carrots leftover from dinner the night before. I was all set...

When you make this dish, you can add ingredients you like, and take out what you don't. But at least leave in the raisins, because I think they really make this dish. All my kids liked my picadillo, Gabriel loved it, and Christina wouldn't touch it (but she rarely eats dinner, so it that was no big surprise). I got my recipe from the Houston Chronicle, but I've researched other recipes, and I've come up with my own version. I liked the idea of using ground turkey to cut back on the fat, but added ground beef for flavor, and left out the pimento stuffed green olives because I don't care for them. If you like them, by all means use them. Same thing goes for the capers-- which I like, but if you don't, leave them out. But they do add a nice salty tang to the meat. I also like to garnish my picadillo with a sprinkle of toasted, sliced almonds, but forgot to do it before I took the pictures-- oh well! And I added the peas and carrots because I had them handy and then I can say I'm a good mom and I make my kids eat their vegetables ;-)

About the beef broth. I initially picked up the generic beef broth at the store because it was cheaper than the national brand. But when I compared the labels, the generic brand still had 600-something grams of sodium versus 400-something grams in the national brand. Regular beef broth has about 880 grams of sodium per serving--not so great. So I bought the name brand; paid more for it, but I don't like a lot of sodium in my food. I'm glad I checked out the labels that time.

Put on your salsa music (if you have any) and let's make some picadillo...


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound ground round/sirloin
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cups low sodium beef broth
2/3 cup raisins (dark or golden)
6 tablespoons capers (next to the pickles and olives at the store)
1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives, roughly chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups small red potatoes, cleaned, peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup sliced, toasted almond for garnish (if you like)
1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
1 teaspooon salt
3 cups water

In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey and beef, breaking the meat up with a large wooden spoon, and then add the garlic. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, and drain the fat.

Now stir in the beef broth, raisins, capers, chopped olives (if desired), tomato paste, potatoes, peas & carrots, and pepper, mix well.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer for 2-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

While the picadillo is simmering, bring the 3 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a medium pot. Add the rice, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook the rice for about 15 mintues or until the rice is al dente, and all the water is gone.

Scoop some rice into a bowl, ladle the picadillo over, and garnish with a sprinkle of almonds, (which I forgot, but it's really good, and adds a nice bit of crunch).

Maybe this will add a Latin flair to your house. God Bless your table tonight!

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