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Random ThursdayThoughts: Cuban Style Picadillo, and a Six Word Memoir

Cuban Picadillo--have you ever had it? So. Damn. Good. And very easy to make, too. It's also versatile. Serve it as is, with a fried egg on top if you like, and rice and beans on the side. Serve it on buns, like a sloppy joe, or wrap it up in dough and make empanadas. Don't those look delicious? I usually double this recipe so we can make empanadas with half of it, but I didn't think of doing that this time. (In a hurry making my grocery list, I suppose.)

I've tried a few recipes for it, but have settled on one from David Rosengarten, in It's All American Food. It has the elements I love in it--raisins (yes, raisins!), olives, hard boiled eggs, and chorizo, along with a good helping of spices to bring out wonderful flavor. Chorizo should be pretty easy to find--scroll down a bit on that page to see the varieties. If I can find it in my grocery store, it can't be too hard to get, hehe.

Is this authentic Cuban Picadillo? I have no idea. I'm sure it's like chili or spaghetti sauce, and there are millions of versions out there, but this is the one we like the best. Feel free to change it up, and add or take things out. But I have to say--try not to mess with the cinnamon, raisins and olives (If you do, I'll find out about it. I may be forced to come to your homes and make this for you, with those things in it!). They add SO much flavor. The olives and raisins play off of each other so well--you get a little tart taste from the olive, and a little burst of sweet from the raisins. I leave out the capers (1 TB) in this recipe because we don't like them, and the almonds (1/3 c toasted, slivered)--if I have them, I add them, and if I don't, it's no big deal. These would both be added at the same time as the eggs and lime juice, if you want to add them.

Cuban Style Picadillo (adapted from It's All American Food)

You can easily double this, and it freezes beautifully!

2 TB olive oil
1 lb ground beef (I use ground turkey)
1/2 pound chorizo, chopped in small pieces, or removed from casing
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves
1 TB ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup beef stock
1 TB sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped green olives with pimento
2 TB cider vinegar
3 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
1-2 TB lime juice

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef or turkey and chorizo.
Cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until nicely browned. Drain if you like--I usually do, but leave a little oil in the pan, or add a bit more olive oil.
Add onion and bell pepper, saute about 10 minutes.
Add garlic and spices, saute about one minute.
Add tomatoes, beef stock and sugar. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.
Add raisins, olives, and vinegar, simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
Add chopped eggs and lime juice and season with salt and pepper, simmer for a couple minutes to heat eggs up, and serve.

I served it this time with sweet potato and beet chips.

A Six Word Memoir

Toontz at Okara Mountain has tagged me for a Six Word Memoir. Check out her blog--that girl makes some gorgeous food! Basically, it's just six words that describe you.

So let's see...

L--Lazy, sometimes


Now I tag six more blogs--I'm choosing new additions to the Foodie Blogroll. Hopefully you'll go and say hello to them--they are all really great blogs! So here you go--more blogs to read. Your boss won't mind, I checked ahead of time. ;)

For the Love of Cooking
B More Sweet
Life After Gluten
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Tarheel Table


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Reader Comments (29)

That looks like such a nice picadillo recipe. I made one a while back that got rave reviews, it's over on my blog if you're interested.

This sounds amazing and it's something I've yet to try!

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPixie

I've never had a picadillo. Where have I been!! I must try this soon.

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

I read your post title, and thought to myself, "how exactly does one write a six word memoir?!?" But I get it now. :-) I've never had picadillo either -- but it looks great!

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

This sounds very similar to Mexican picadillo, raisins and all, and you like said, it is perfect for empanadas. Yummy

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Thanks for tagging me,'s always fun to come across new blogs! Your Picadillo sounds great, I have never tried it before. I'll have to put this in my 'to make' file :)

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

picadillo sounds like the name of animal to me. i guess it makes me think of the armadillo. random question: can you eat an armadillo? i digress. this recipe sounds very enticing--i'm especially excited about the combination of spices. thanks for the introduction! :)

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGrace

Mmmm...picadillo. I love eating with with white rice, or in an empanada (but not a lot of people make good empanadas so I'm deprived). I haven't tried Cuban style, but from the looks of the recipe, it's something I'll definitely like. Thanks for the recipe. I think I'll give this a go when get back to AZ.

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

Thanks for tagging me, I'll try to do the same. I love picadillo, I make it all the time! But I don't put raisins or cinnamon. I have my recipe posted on my site. It's my mom's recipe that I've eaten all my life.

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGina

You've been tagged:) Come visit my blog

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRhyleysgranny

That look so good. I have made/had picadillo only once. It was really good but I skipped the olives. Next time they are definitely in. I like the idea of adding teh hard boiled eggs!

April 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

We made picadillo on "Plantain Surfboards" last year, it was fun and delicious! :)" REL="nofollow">

(oops, double-posted!)

April 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Yum, Elle! I haven't tried picadillo's got to be super yum in empanadas! Beautiful pic, and those chips look delicious, too!

April 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercanarygirl

Another first for me - never even heard of picadillo. Now I'm curious. Trying new things is always such fun.

April 18, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergiz

Oh yum! I wasn't familiar with this but after reading the ingredients you turned me into a believer. Makes me want to sing.. Chorizoooooo!

April 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterZen Chef

You've got my stomach growling with this one. How beautiful it looks with all the colors and I'm sure the taste is too die for!

April 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenternoble pig

I love the veggie crisps on the side, but the main dish looks full of flavor.

Totally our kinda food. All those yummy spices and flavors. The raisins are perfect for this, adding that bit of sweetness...and I can just taste the empanadas it would make. YUM!

April 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkellypea

I am learning so much from you,Elle! Picadillo is a new food to me. Never tried it. It's great to have the recipe.

April 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfarida

Thank you everyone, so much, for your nice words!

April 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElle

i do love picadillo....esp. over rice.

Amazing & inspiring me to make something I haven't made in ages.

btw, i love picadillo so much that way back when I did include it in a poem I wrote about a boyfriend, Cuba, plaintains & picadillos.
Can find at then go to poetry>Ingar>titled Paladares....thanks for bringing back one of my favs!

April 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertaste memory

I'm sorry but this isn't a Cuban Picadillo... I was raised in a pre-dominantly Cuban culture household and my grandma taught me to make CUBAN Picadillo.

I am sure your Picadillo is delicous, but Cuban it's not.

Cuban cooking is ABSENT of spicy things in it's cuisine you will NEVR find "Cayenne Pepper" and "Chili Powder" in authentic Cuban food the type a grandmother or person in Cuba would make

Diffenetly no eggs in it 100%

The raisins some Cubans do add it (this is a debate some Cubans will say it's suppose to some will say it isnt, etc. it varies.)

This has inspired me to make a authentic Cuban Picadillo from my grandmas kitchen, I'll post it sometimes.

And if it is not gonna be used as a filling many Cubans like to add "Papa Frita" to it.

July 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

I mean I'll post it tomorrow I promise, you may like this version better though because it's heavely spiced with a bunch of things
... but Cuban it is not.

July 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

Nathan, I never once said mine was authentic, in fact, I said I was pretty sure it wasn't. How could it be when it's from a guy named David Rosengarten? What I said was that I tried a few different versions and *this* is the one we like. "We" (my family) like, and that doesn't mean I'm going to track down and harass those that don't like it. I'm not confused and I'm not misunderstanding anything. I didn't title it authentic picadillo, did I? So if someone is looking for authentic picadillo, they can do a google search and go elsewhere. And aside from a few extra ingredients in the one I posted, they're not even that different. I wasn't aware that I'd have the recipe police on my tail for posting something on my own blog. SO IN BORROWING YOUR ALL CAP ANGER, PLEASE LIGHTEN UP. It's food, not the fate of the world. Maybe it would be nice to stop drawing lines in the sand on different cultures and open up to some new things.

(you can all see Nathan's rant on his blog, linked below this post.)

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElle


I never got angry at you personally, I think your blog is wonderful, I just criticized the recipe and it had the world "Cuban Style Picadillo", and you said, "I have no idea if this is Cuban Picadillo", but now you now it is not.

Im sorry if it sounded harrasing but it's not my intention to harass you. I was just shocked, and the bold in Spanish is the english equivanlent of, "My reaction was like what the fuck this is Picadillo nuh uh" that'a all.

Nothing towards you as a person or foodie.


No hard feelings honestly.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

Well, I actually said I had no idea if it was authentic. But I in fact did look at quite a few authentic ones (at least they said they were, I make no claims as to their actual authenticity, lol) and the recipe I posted was very similar to those, as it's fairly similar to yours.

I didn't think you sounded harassing, that was just my own choice of words. But a simple "you know, I have Cuban heritage, and this isn't 100% authentic, bit I'll post my family's version--please check it out" would have been all that was needed. Not a post ridiculing me and my blog, along with a link back to it. And I'm not anti-Cuban anything, and really, I don't think that recipe is, either.

But since you're only 18, and still maturing, as you say in your bio, I'll chalk it up to that and remind you that a little tact and thought goes a long way in this world.

At any rate, you have a really nice blog, and wonderful recipes. Which I can rest easy knowing are all 100% authentic. ;)

And no hard feelings here, either.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElle

I'm sorry Elle I sounded so rude (guess Im gonna need to learn to use tact), and if it bugs you I'll just get rid of that stuff I wrote (in fact I am), because my ententions aren't to bug, I will use more "tact" next time though thanks.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

Don't change your post. You have strong feelings and that's ok.

July 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElle

just found this recipe via a tastespotting search.. i'm throwing a white party in july and having a cuban menu - these will definitely be on my menu as empanadas! thanks!

June 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercandyce

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