24 February 2021: Picadillo

The Washington Post has started a new email newsletter authored by WaPo’s food writer, Daniela Galarza called Eat Voraciously and the very first email was – as Guy Fieri might say – “off the hook”. Use this link to read more about Daniela’s mission and subscribe to receive the newsletter – or even better, subscribe to the Post.

This Picadillo recipe has many different and tasty variations. It can be vegetarian, vegan, meaty…. whatever hits you at the moment. I also appreciated that the many cubes of Sofrito, a result of this summer’s foray into CSA shares and aji dulce peppers, could be utilized to make the food prep even faster. As both of us like our food hot and spicy, we took the liberty of serving Craic Sauce’s Mill City Red on the side. To read more about this locally produced line of hot sauces, visit Craft Hot Sauce to read and hear more about creator, Brian Ruhlmann or look for Craic’s Sauce and where it’s available on social media.

Eat Voraciously’s Picadillo Recipe

Ingredients (Read Daniela’s original post for more ideas)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (4 to 5 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, any color, finely chopped (optional)
  • 5 stems fresh cilantro and their leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I used ground turkey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (any kind) (I used a hot paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes, preferably with no salt added
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dark or golden raisins (optional) (I would say, don’t skip unless you dislike raisins)
  • 1/4 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, halved (optional) (I would say, don’t skip unless you dislike olives)
  • Steamed rice for serving (optional)


  1. In a wide skillet over high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the onion and bell pepper, if using, and cook, stirring often, just until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add most of the cilantro — reserving a few leaves for garnish — garlic and ground beef. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, break the ground beef into bits so that it cooks evenly. Stir in the salt, cumin, paprika, oregano and black pepper.
  2. Cook the beef until its fat has rendered and it’s brown with a few pink spots, 5 to 8 minutes. (Drain excess fat, if desired.) Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes, using a spoon or spatula to break up any large chunks of tomato. (If the mixture starts to look dry, add a splash or two of water to loosen it.)
  3. Stir in the raisins and olives, if using, and simmer until they’ve softened, 3 or 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, keeping in mind that the raisins add a little sweetness and the olives add salinity and a touch of acidity. Garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves and serve the picadillo hot, with cooked rice.

For my Noomer friends: (Based on 6 servings, excluding rice): Calories: 249; Protein: 15g; Carbohydrates: 8g; Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 54mg; Sodium: 259mg; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 4g.


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