What can I say about picadillo? It’s the food of my childhood – we ate it at least once every week always served with fresh corn tortillas hot from the griddle.
Picadillo is my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister and I sitting by a round table after school. Picadillo is the beans it was served with and my sister fussing about not wanting to eat meat and my parents urging her to eat it. It’s all those times my parents asked us how we’ll ever be able to please our in-laws what with our picky eating habits.
Honestly – like most foods from our childhood, picadillo was not something I was excited about. It always tasted meat-y and it was only as good as the rest of the fillings in the taco.
I thought it almost my duty to learn to make picadillo. I approached it with skeptic enthusiasm – but, the result? My goodness, A MA ZING. Something is making this picadillo completely delectable – I could eat it in spoonfuls – and I have a suspicion it’s the pasture-raised beef that could be giving it a more exquisite flavor. That, or the way it’s simmered in tomatoey goodness that doesn’t produce the dry, meaty version of my childhood.
We’ve taken to calling it Piccadilly. Enjoy it served with corn tortillas and avocado slices for simple delicious tacos, or next to rice and homemade beans. (see end notes for paleo-friendly version). This recipe was adapted from this original recipe.
- 1 1/2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
- 3-4 tomatoes
- 1 potato, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 small or medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small serrano pepper, end removed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
- In a blender, add tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 onions, serrano pepper, chipotle and 1/4 cup of water. Blend and reserve.
- In a large pan* saute remaining onions over medium heat until translucent.
- Increase heat to high and add ground beef. Brown the meat until it is lightly cooked and no longer pink. Season the meat with salt, cumin and oregano and pour blended sauce over it.
- Add potatoes, carrots, bay leaves and decrease heat to low. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through and sauce reaches desired consistency. (I usually simmer for 40 min to an hour). Add water if necessary.
* I like to use a cast iron pan
I am a bigger fan of the traditional mexican picadillo – the starch that releases from the potatoes makes the sauce thicker and richer. But if you must avoid potatoes – replacing them with cauliflower is definitely not a bad choice. Add cauliflower along with the carrots or in the last 10 minutes if you’d like crunch (I didn’t).