Picadillo

Today is book launch day, and I’m seeing the fruits of my publicists’ labors for the first time–reviews, articles, guest posts, all kinds of stuff.  It’s fun, and I will by-God link to every single post, but I also thought it might be nice to take a moment and talk about something that isn’t book related.

I like to cook. It’s one of my main hobbies. People have to eat, right? Also, there’s only so much you can say about summer movies. So I’m going to blog about food occasionally.

Here’s a simple, inexpensive recipe that’s ridiculously tasty and not too bad for your arteries. It’s called Picadillo. I never heard of it until a couple years ago, but apparently it’s a Latin American staple. It turns out to be dead simple to make at home.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup green olives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 8 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 envelopes Goya sazon seasoning (I found it at the local supermarket with the taco stuff, YMMV)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste.

Preparation

Heat the oil in a largish skillet. Sautee the garlic, onion and green pepper until translucent, about five minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Stir in the olives, capers, raisins, diced tomatoes, Sazon. Cook for ~10 minutes, then stir in sugar and salt.

The whole thing takes maybe 20 minutes to put together, plus another ten or so for cooking time. Also, it seems to be one of those recipes where it gets better after it sits overnight.

Serve over rice. I like mine with a little Cholula sauce.

Variations and Notes

Picadillo is apparently one of those recipes where everybody’s grandmother has a slight variation. I saw a couple versions that used potatoes—I haven’t tried that, but it sounds good. You can adjust the raisins up or down—personally, I think ¼ cup is too much, but that’s a pretty common amount. Peas and carrots often make an appearance.

If you can’t find commercial Sazon packets at your supermarket, you can approximate it with equal parts coriander, cumin, paprika, garlic powder and salt.

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