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.
Is it entirely necessary to add raisins and olives to this dish when it’s still really delicious without them? No. But embracing new flavors and cuisines keeps things interesting at the table. You can make sloppy joes one week and picadillo the next. Same easy meal, two deliciously different flavors.
Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour
2 tablespoons olive oil (30 ml)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (680 g)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (5 ml)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (5 ml)
8 ounces tomato sauce (240 ml)
1/2 cup pitted green olives (75 g)
2 tablespoons raisins (30 ml)
Over medium-high heat sauté the onion and green pepper in olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes.
Add the garlic and the ground beef. Season the beef with salt and pepper, oregano and cumin.
When the meat is browned but still a bit pink in the middle, add tomato sauce. Simmer 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Add the olives and raisins and simmer 10 minutes more. Serve.