Cuban Picadillo

My grandparents emigrated from Cuba in the fall of 1967 and settled in Queens, New York . In no time at all they became loyal fans of their new hometown’s baseball team. The only thing most Cubans love more than their family is baseball, and the only thing my grandparents loved more than that was having something to passionately argue about. It was no surprise to us kids that my grandfather became a NY Mets fan, and my grandmother became a NY Yankees fan.

Even when it came to the simplest of things, it was rare for them to see eye to eye.

Picadillo (ground beef) is a Cuban comfort food. One of the few quick and easy recipes that doesn’t take hours to make so it was a weekly staple in our menu growing up. But even the Picadillo was not safe from their fiery debates. My grandfather preferred it with raisins, my grandmother preffered it with potatoes, so depending on who made it that week: that’s how we got it. I have a friend who told me his mom added both. I nearly gasped. Both together was unheard of in our household.

_MG_6473vsYou were either team potatoes or team raisins. I miss their spirited dinner table discussions about which was more authentic, which tasted better, which had more nutrition, etc. The raisins add a sweet smokiness that counteracts with the tartness of the tomatoes; the potatoes on the other hand add an extra layer of savoriness. Honestly, both ways taste good and the recipe is identical except for the one ingredient so I’ll provide you with directions to add either or, but of course… never both 😉 Try them both ways and tell me which one you like better. Buen provecho!

4 large servings

2 TB Olive oil
1 Green pepper diced
1 Red pepper diced
1/2  Medium onion diced
2 Cloves of garlic minced
1 1/3 Bag (1 lb) of MorningStar Farms Grillers Crumbles or Gardein Beefless Ground if you want to make this meal Vegan
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 C White Wine
14 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1/4 C water
2 TB pimiento stuffed olives minced

1 small potato diced into small cubes and then fried in 1 TB of olive oil until crispy and golden brown. Do this step before you start the recipe.
1/3 C raisins


Make the sofrito: heat oil in a large skillet, add onions, peppers and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or until onions become translucent. Then add the “ground round” to the pan until thoroughly heated (5-7 minutes) stirring frequently. Next add all the remaining ingredients. Cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally making sure it does not stick to the pan. Finished product should be saucy and not overly dry. Serve over white rice, with a side of sweet plantains or mariquita chips for an authentic experience.




Nutrition Facts per serving (4 servings)
Calories: 356
Fat: 11.7
Potassium: 354 mg
Carbs: 40 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sugars: 19.2 g
Protein: 24 g
Vitamin A: 46%
Vitamin C: 123%
Calcium: 1.8%
Iron: 31%

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