Cuban Picadillo

I was watching one of my favorite Food Network shows recently and they happened to be highlighting Cuban Picadillo. My mouth couldn’t stop watering. I wanted to snatch a bite directly through the television but since that technology hasn’t been invented yet I resolved to cook it myself. 

I found a great recipe on to use as my base and then grabbed some additional direction here and there from a few other resources. Instead of a 1/4 cup of oil, I only used 2 tbsp of olive oil to saute the diced peppers, onions and garlic (which I minced). I then browned the chopped meat within that mixture and drained as much fat as I could afterwards. In lieu of tomato sauce, I poured in a can of diced tomatoes and a 6 oz. can of tomato paste. In addition to salt and pepper, I threw in 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried cilantro, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves and 4 bay leaves.

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In several of the reviews for the Picadillo, people suggested serving this dish with yellow rice and black beans. Someone was kind enough to share the recipe for their side so I tried it out as well. I only made the portion of black beans even though the original recipe they provided contained information to prepare a bit more.

I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out. It was a delicious balance of flavors and textures…and we have plenty of leftovers to enjoy throughout the week!

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Here is the original recipe for the Cuban Picadillo:


1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup oil or 1/4 cup lard
1 green pepper, finely diced
2 large onions, finely diced
5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup cooking wine
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 lbs ground beef (or combination) or 2 lbs ground pork (or combination)
15 -20 whole pimento stuffed olives
1/3 cup raisins


1. Mash the salt, pepper and garlic together in a mortar until well blended.
2. Lightly brown this mixture in the lard/oil with the pepper and the onions until the onions become translucent.
3. Add the tomato sauce and let it simmer for a minute.
4. Add the vinegar.
5. Add the meat and cook for 5-minutes.
6. Add the cooking wine, olives and raisins.
7. Simmer until liquid is absorbed (I usually let this simmer for around an hour or so on low, so the flavors meld together).
8. Serve with rice and beans and a nice cold beer.
9. Tastes even better the next day!

Here is the original recipe for the black beans:


2 (15 1/2 ounce) cans black beans, NOT drained
1/4 cup white onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (or sub 1 tsp dried if needed)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (only fresh or frozen, not dried!)
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


1. To prepare the black beans, combine the first seven ingredients in a medium saucepan.
2. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer on a back burner, stirring occasionally.

4 thoughts on “Cuban Picadillo

    1. Dana Post author

      Ha it’s so funny Joanne, I sometimes forget that you’re in Australia…especially when the temperature reaches almost 90 degrees here! Yes, I’m sure this dish would be great during the cold weather. It wasn’t too bad with the air conditioning on either, lol! 🙂


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