Cuban Picadillo Recipe - Comfort Food

I love to cook and entertain and I almost always make Cuban food when we have company. People are usually surprised that even the simplest food is so flavorful.

In the early 60’s when we were new to this country, my mom experimented with all kinds of traditional, inexpensive American foods. We kids went along with it for a while, but it was my dad who got very vocal about getting his picadillo at least once a week.

The moment we began to smell the sofrito, all was right again in our little exile world.


I have been reluctant to serve picadillo to American friends because it is my absolute favorite comfort food and it’s a little difficult to explain that the incredible sweet and sour taste comes from pimiento-stuffed green olives and raisins. Then the explanation becomes more complex when I start raving about how tasty it is for breakfast the next day with a fried egg.

Raisins & olives
Raisins & olives

I figure…

If you just don’t “get it" - there's more for me.


Papi’s Favorite Picadillo Recipe

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
  • 1 ½ lbs. Ground beef (I have substituted ground turkey and it’s still awesome)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (the cheaper, the better!)
  • 4 Tbsp. Pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 1 small box of dark raisins
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Oregano

1) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic until the onion is transluscent.

2) Add the ground beef and brown over medium heat.

3) Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking until meat is tender and completely cooked through. About 25 minutes.

4) Serve over white rice. And tostones.

5) Makes 6 servings.

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