Growing up, my Mom always made us Picadillo, but it was a soup. It had ground beef and potatoes swimming in a tasty broth and it was absolutely delicious. So the first time I went to a Cuban restaurant and saw Picadillo on the menu, I was very surprised to learn that their version was not a soup at all! It was completely different, but equally delicious. Served with white rice, black beans, tostones (fried plaintains) and mojo (garlic sauce), it was different and to die for. I asked a couple of my Cuban friends at work what spices go into Picadillo and was surprised to learn that both of them put cumin and cinnamon in it! Well, cumin wasn’t surprising, but I only ever use cinnamon in sweet stuff like pies and desserts. So… here’s my attempt to recreate the Picadillo I had at the Cuban restaurant. I think it turned out pretty darn good!
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 tsp. salt (add more or less, to your taste)
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut in cubes
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
- 1 small can (6 oz.) tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 3 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced
- 2/3 cup raisins
- Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pan set over medium high heat.
- Saute onions and garlic for about 2 minutes, then add ground beef.
- Season with salt and pepper, and cook until beef is browned through.
- Stir in green bell pepper, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, vinegar, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and bay leaf.
- Lower heat and let simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in olives and raisins and let simmer for another 8-10 minutes more.