August 13, 2015
The first time I ever had Picadillo was at the tender age of 7 (how sad I remember that) – when I was invited for dinner by my Most Holy Name (Ybor City) classmate Michael Torta – I was hooked after the very first bite.
Michael’s mom was as round as I was tall, with a big smile and a bright red apron. She let us watch her every step – and even let me peel the ripe black plantains she fried to accompany our picadillo. When I saw her put the green olives and raisins in the pot, well, I wanted to bolt – but I stayed, much to my ultimate delight. It was a memorable meal.
Over the years, I have honed the recipe to one people seem to enjoy very much. I wanted the meat to have maximum flavor so I let it soak in the Sherry for a couple of hours prior to cooking – then start layering the wonderful flavors as they cook in the pot.
AUTHENTIC SPANISH PICADILLO
- 2 pounds ground beef (80% – 20%)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry Sherry
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion – coarsely chopped
- 1 large green pepper – coarsely chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 1/3 cup capers (drained)
- 1/3 cup green olives with pimentos – sliced in rings
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 small can tomato paste
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ cup Dry Sherry (in addition to the Sherry above)
Mix ground beef with salt, red pepper flakes, and dry Sherry. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Heat the olive oil in large skillet. Add onion, green pepper and sauté until soft. Add the garlic, capers, olives, and beef mixture, stirring until the meat is completely cooked. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the ½ cup of Sherry). Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Skim off excess fat, and add ½ cup dry Sherry. Serve with white rice (sprinkle with parsley), fried plantains, mixed field green salad, Sangria, or and ice cold beer. Then go to Eddie V’s and order their Bananas Foster Cake and Ice Cream at the bar.
Purchase round empanada shells in the frozen section at the grocery. Fill, fold over, and crimp them with a fork. Fry in 350 degree oil until golden brown. They can even be baked (on a parchment lined cookie sheet) in a 375 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes.
You can also line mini muffin tins with the dough, fill and bake to make an open faced empanada – bake as above until golden brown and top with a slice of green olive.