Cuban Picadillo

My husband introduced me to Picadillo during one of his trips to D.C. to visit me while we were dating. He ordered it for dinner at Banana Cafe, a Cuban restaurant on Barracks' Row, and asked if I wanted a bite. 

It was love at first bite.

Later that week, when he was back home in New York, I was researching Picadillo and even asked his mom for her recipe - except that she's one of those amazing cooks who doesn't need one. I think she typed it up for me in an email as best she could - some measurements were missing - so I had to piece it together using recipes I found online.

There are lots of difference variations on Picadillo, but this is the one I make over and over again and the husband (who grew up on this stuff) deemed it, "Good. Really good.

I like to use grass-fed beef or bison for this. To serve, my favorite method is mixing in about a cup of cooked brown rice into the entire batch, thus making it a great "one bowl meal" (protein, fat, carb sources all in one bowl.) YAY for easy, yummy meals that feel comforting. I call it cleaned-up comfort food without the coma:)  


2 Tbs. olive oil

1 bell pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. oregano

1 Tbs. cumin

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1/2 c. beef stock

2 lbs. grass-fed ground beef or bison

1/2 c. sliced green olives

1/3 c. raisins

2 Tbs. capers

1 tsp. sea salt & 1/2 tsp. pepper, plus more to taste if needed


1. In large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add bell pepper and onion. Sauté until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Stir in garlic, oregano, cumin, and tomato paste, salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. Add beef stock and cook until reduced, about 5 minutes.

3. Add ground meat and cook, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Stir in raisins, olives, and capers. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes more.