There are numerous versions of Picadillo. It's usually made all over Latin America, but living in Florida, most people identify it as a Cuban dish. But, pretty much everyone in Latin America has their own version. It is often served with rice and in some cases as the filling for pastries, like empanadas. In my house it’s basically a quick dish that is made when Tom begs for it. Its simple and quick and everyone pretty much loves it.

You start with the ground meats. I use a half mixture of ground beef and ground turkey or pork, in this case whatever is on sale in the meat department in your local supermarket. Plus using a leaner type of ground meat makes the whole dish lighter. I season the meats in a bowl with salt and pepper, a bit of milk (about 1/2 tablespoon) and a bit of cumin (1/2 teaspoon), mix it all and let it rest for a bit.

In a large skillet, that has been pre-heated on medium-high heat, pour about 2 tablespoons of oil (regular, I use corn/vegetable oil) and change the heat to high, take my bowl of meat and start to brown it, breaking up the pieces and letting it cook until all the fat moisture is dry, I also add about 2 bay leaves at this point as well and some dry oregano, about 1/4 teaspoon.
Then while that is going, I chop up into small pieces 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper. I do the same with 1 large onion (or 2 medium) and about 2-3 cloves of garlic.
I then add it to the brown meat and mix it all around... making it look like this:
Go back to the cutting board and cut up about 4-5 tomatoes (at this point you can also use 1 large or 2 medium can of diced tomatoes). If you use the fresh tomatoes, before I mix them into the meat in the skillet, I season with salt and pepper and then in they go. Give it a swirl and go back and mix in about 1/4 cup of raisins (or more if you want a bit of a sweeter dish), give it another swirl. And get working with the olives. Some people like them whole or cut in half. I like them chopped, not too much but enough that they become part of the dish. (for those that have picky eater kids, this is a good way to "hide" them in plain sight). Dump them in the skillet and give it another swirl.

Next up the liquids! I use red wine, but you can also use dry white wine. I usually pour about 1 cup of red wine, 1/4 cup of tomato paste or ketchup and about 1/2 cup of water. A tip: if you use the can tomatoes (which you can), the liquid will take place of the water. I give it a good toss around. After about 5 minutes of that bubbling along, I taste it and adjust the season by adding a bit of salt and pepper, I also add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 or 2 chicken flavor bouillon cubes depending on the taste. At this point, I reduce the heat to Medium-Low and I let it cook about 20 minutes of so, stirring it from time to time, adjusting the liquid (more wine or water) for more sauce/less sauce. I like my picadillo on the dry side with enough juices to sort of coat it, if you like it soupy, then by all means, finish cooking it once you hit your desire consistency.

I usually served it in a bowl, over white rice and with a spoonful of sour cream (optional!).


1 1/2 pound of ground meat (Beef, Turkey, Pork)
1/2 teaspoon of milk
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoon of cooking oil (corn/vegetable)
1/4 teaspoon of dry oregano
1 large red and green pepper (each) chopped
1 large (or 2 medium) yellow onion chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
4-5 tomatoes chopped (or 2 medium cans of tomatoes)
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives (drained of liquid)
1 cup of red (or dry white) wine
1/4 cup of tomato paste or ketchup
1/2 cup of water (if needed)
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1-2 cubes of chicken flavor bouillon cube
Salt and ground pepper to taste

How to:

In a bowl mix the milk, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano with ground meats. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the ground meats with the bay leave and oregano until liquid evaporates.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients all the while stirring and tasting and adjusting the salt and pepper. Cook about 20 minutes until desired consistency, let it rest for a bit and then served over white rice.