I originally wrote this post two summers ago and have finally gotten around to updating the photos. It’s part of a series called Go Boxless where I demonstrate how to make easy meals without using processed ingredients from a bag, can or box. Hope you enjoy the updated version of picadillo.
As a young woman, Rick’s mother lived in Cuba for a few years. Later, as a young mother, she would prepare Cuban food for her family. Picadillo was the dish she would choose after a difficult day at work. It contains hamburger, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and spices…kind of like that boxed stuff that’s supposed to help you get a meal on the table. Best of all, picadillo can be made in a single skillet, is quick and tastes terrific.
Picadillo is made all over Latin America. It can be served with rice, as shown in the photo, or used as a filling for tacos and empanadas. (Low carb and grain free folks can eat it over cauliflower rice.) This recipe is easily doubled so you can freeze the leftovers.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup diced onion (about half a large onion)
- 3 - 4 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 green bell pepper, diced (about 1½ cups)
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 - 2 teaspoons smoky paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 28 oz can whole tomatoes, liquid reserved
- ½ cup pimiento stuffed olives, sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prep the onions, garlic, bell pepper and olives.
- In a large skillet or dutch oven, brown the hamburger, onions and garlic over medium high heat.
- When browned, drain off the liquid.
- Add the olive oil, cumin, oregano and smoky paprika to the hamburger mixture, stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium.
- Open the can of tomatoes, and dice each tomato right into the pot.
- Add the olives and about a third of the reserved tomato juice and give the whole thing a good stir.
- If making rice, this is a good time to get it started.
- Taste and add salt and pepper to taste and adjust any other seasoning. Allow the picadillo to bubble along at low heat for another 20 minutes or until the rice is ready. If it seems too dry, add some more of the reserved tomato juice, but not so much that it's soupy.
From start to finish, picadillo will take around 40 minutes, less if you start with pre-browned and frozen ground beef. Add bread and a green salad and you have a delicious, satisfying meal without opening a box.