Cuban Picadillo is a fragrant stew of ground beef simmered in tomato sauce with vinegar, onions, garlic, olives and smoked paprika. An easy one-pan recipe and one of the great Cuban dishes.
There's some sort of magical synergy between ground beef and tomatoes that results in some of the most irresistible dishes, whether it's chili con carne, meatloaf, sloppy joe or meaty pasta sauce. This Cuban Picadillo recipe is easy way to transform ground beef into something really special for dinner.
What is Picadillo?
- The word 'picadillo' translates as 'hash' or 'mince' from Spanish.
- Picadillo is a Cuban stew of ground pork or beef simmered in tomato sauce with vinegar, olives, raisins and spices.
- Cuban picadillo is typically served with rice and beans, but it is also delicious spooned over mashed potatoes or tossed with pasta.
- Picadillo has been called the ultimate Cuban comfort food.
How to make Cuban Picadillo
Picadillo is an easy one-pot recipe, perfect for a weeknight. Dinner can be on the table 35 minutes.
- Start by sautéing chopped onions, garlic and green pepper in olive oil for 8 minutes or so. When the vegetables have softened a bit add the ground beef and brown it in the pan for a few minutes, until it loses its pink color.
- Add canned tomatoes, vinegar, spices, olives and raisins to the pan with the beef and simmer gently for 15 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld.
- Dinner is ready.
What to serve with Cuban Picadillo
- It's traditional in Cuba to serve Picadillo with rice and black beans, a totally delicious combination.
- I also love this dish served over mashed potatoes. Try these delicious olive oil and garlic mashed potatoes made with no butter or cream.
- There are many other delicious ways to enjoy Picadillo. It makes a great filling for tortillas, tacos, empanadas, or burritos.
- Or how about stuffing poblano peppers with picadillo and making chiles rellenos picadillo, as they do in Mexico? Doesn't that sound incredible?!
- A green salad is always nice with rich comfort food. I recommend this butter lettuce salad with citrus vinaigrette.
I hope you enjoy this tasty picadillo beef. It's one of those great recipes that's easy enough for a weeknight and delicious enough for casual entertaining.
Here's the Cuban Picadillo recipe. As always, I'm hoping you will cook this and come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print
Cuban Picadillo: Ground Beef Stew with tomatoes, vinegar and olives
Picadillo is a simple yet special stew made with ground beef, tomatoes and spices. It has exciting sweet, sour, salty layers of flavor, punctuated with salty olives and sweet raisins.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 35 mins
- Yield: 5-6 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Cuban
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
- 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more, to taste
- 1 28 ounce can imported plum tomatoes
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste (half of a 6-ounce can)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup dark raisins
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon (mild) smoked paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup pimiento stuffed green olives
- Suggested Accompaniment: rice or mashed potatoes, black beans
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large deep skillet or dutch oven. Add onion, garlic and green pepper. Cook for 5-6 minute, until vegetables start to soften. Add beef and salt. Allow meat to brown, breaking up clumps with the end of a spatula or wooden spoon, to achieve a crumbly texture.
- Add plum tomatoes, crushing them or tearing them into pieces with your hands as you drop them in. Pour in the plum tomato juice from the can too. Add tomato paste and stir through. Add vinegar, raisins, cumin, smoked paprika, bay leaves and olives. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew is slightly thickened and the flavors are melded. Remove bay leaves. Correct seasoning with salt, if necessary.
- Serve with mashed potatoes, rice or black beans.
[This post first appeared on Panning The Globe in September 2016. It was updated in May 2020 with added nutritional information, clarifying details in the written post and clearer instructions in the recipe.]
Nutrition Information: The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.
Keywords: Ground beef stew, Cuban ground beef stew