It’s two days away from Thanksgiving here in the United States, and that means a significant portion of my readership is scrambling to put together a Primal menu. Things are easier now with the rise of the ancestral health community and the growing preponderance of related recipe blogs, but a lot of you are still wasting precious time combing through their volumes or converting standard Thanksgiving recipes into Primal-friendly recipes. You have better things to do. You have family and friends to visit, footballs to toss (or kick, as the case may be), piles of polychromatic leaves to roll around in, and thanks to give. Even if you’re an international reader, don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or know quite what it’s all about, you still like to eat great food.
Cuban Picadillo is basically a sloppy joe without the bun. But picadillo has a little more pizzazz, thanks to the sweet and piquant flavor combination of raisins and olives simmered with ground beef and tomato sauce. Picadillo is home cooked comfort food, the type of easy weeknight meal that both kids and adults love.
Like Filipino Kaldereta, the ingredients in Cuban Picadillo are a reflection of its history. Peppers, tomatoes and olives can be traced back to Spanish colonization. The blending of sweet and acidic ingredients is also a big part of Caribbean cuisine. Traditionally served over rice and beans (and sometimes, plantains) Primal Picadillo can be served over cauliflower rice or simply heaped in a bowl with nothing else. It’s also pretty great next to eggs for breakfast.
Kaldereta is a Filipino stew with flavors influenced by three centuries of Spanish colonization in the Philippines. Tomato-based and traditionally made with goat or beef, potatoes, green olives and peppers, it’s a filling, comforting dish.
The really ingenious ingredient in Kaldereta is puréed chicken liver.
Stirred in at the end, chicken livers give the stew a thick, creamy texture and super-meaty flavor. This technique can be used with any of your favorite stew, chili or curry recipes. There are more sneaky ways to work offal into your meals, but this is arguably one the easiest and tastiest methods.
The bold flavor of mackerel (or sardines) is an asset in this dish, pairing perfectly with an equally bold tomato sauce that’s spicy, garlicky and richly seasoned with cumin, coriander, paprika and cinnamon.
If the fishy flavor or oiliness of mackerel and sardines puts you off then acidity, herbs and spices are the way to go. The acidic lemon and herb marinade in this recipe will mellow both the oiliness and the fishy flavor. Tomatoes add more acidity to the dish and there is no shortage of spices in the sauce.
Seaweed and olives might sound like an odd pairing, but dulse tapenade will convince you otherwise. It’s a salty spread with rich umami flavor that can be modified to please your palate. Love the flavor of seaweed? Then go light on the olives. Not so fond of seaweed? Add a big handful of Kalamatas and you’ll barely taste the seaweed at all.
Either way, dulse tapenade is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, iodine, magnesium, iron and copper. Not to mention all the other trace minerals your body is probably missing out on.
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