I've never made picadillo before but this South American dish is the essence of comfort food. It's basically a blend of seasoned ground beef, sauteed peppers, onion and garlic, and diced tomatoes.
According to Bon Appetit, the source for the recipe, there are variations on the dish depending on what country you're in. I stuck pretty close to the cookbook version, which included frozen peas in the mix. I eliminated the capers, not because I have a problem with capers, I just didn't feel like their briny, pungent flavour in this dish.
The recipe recommended serving the picadillo with rice, black beans, and a side of warm corn tortillas. Wanting to use what I already had in the house I opted to simply serve the beef dish over some pre-cooked brown rice. Though I didn't have black beans or corn tortillas in my pantry, I can see how both would work as sides.
This is an easy, no-fail recipe for a Monday night when you don't feel like going to too much trouble in the kitchen. There's not a lot of chopping, and you can easily halve or double the recipe based on how many people you're serving. I like to have leftovers for the next day's lunch so I often make 4 servings' worth.
South American picadillo
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
1 14.5-oz can beef broth
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup drained capers.
Heat oil on a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add beef, cumin and cayenne; saute until beef is brown, breaking up with back of fork, about 8 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, broth, peas, and capers, if using.
Simmer until picadillo is thick, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Recipe: Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh, Wiley, 2008
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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