Picadillo is an amazing tasty dish with an unusual name.   The name roughly translates from the Spanish word picar which means to mince or to chop.  Picadillo is a traditional dish in Spain as well as in several Latin American countries and in the Philippines.  It is similar to a stew or slightly resembles an American sloppy joe.


This recipe is super simple to make and it can be considered a one pot dish.  The prepared dish is often served with or over white rice which makes it an excellent gluten free option.  Most of the time, Picadillo it is made with ground beef, diced tomatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion, green olives, raisins and spices (that differ depending on the recipe region).

While it might seem a bit odd to have green olives and raisins in a meat dish, I can promise you that the flavor combination is unmistakably amazing.  The green olives provide a briny, saltiness similar to how capers enhance a chicken piccata dish.  The raisins serve as a sweet component and help to balance out all of the other salty, savor flavors.

The following passage is a big side note but I feel if I were to ever talk about a certain topic it would be here with this particular recipe.  If you or anyone you might be making this dish for, what I like to call “visual issue eaters”, there are ways to acquire the same taste but to not have the said items visible.  A visual issue eater is someone that likes the flavor of an ingredient but does not want to visually see that ingredient in the prepared dish.  For example, someone who likes the flavor of onion but does not want to see diced onions in their food.


Both my husband and my son are visual issue eaters.  Over the years I have gotten pretty good at visually hiding ingredients.  I will also note that sometimes visual issue eaters will say they do not like a particular ingredient but they just do not know they actually do like that ingredient.  For instance, my son will say he does not like onions but if I do not add pureed onions to my meatloaf he will not eat it saying there is something off with the meatloaf and it does not taste good.  So technically my son likes onions, he just does not know it.

For this recipe the two ingredients that might offend visual issue eaters are the olives and the raisins.  While these two ingredients could simply be removed from the recipe, the final dish would certainly not have same flavor.  So the best way to keep the flavor and not remove the ingredients is to visually hide them from the dish.

For the olive component, the same taste can be obtained by using the liquid from the olive container.  For an equal flavor representation, I would recommend using about 1 tablespoon of the liquid.  For the raisin component, the raisins can be mashed prior to adding to the meat mixture so that the taste is still there but the actual raisin cannot be seen.  For easy mashing, it is best to heat the raisins in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  This will soften the raisins and make them easier to mash.


4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1/2 onion (chopped)

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 bay leaves

1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 cup canned diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1/3 cup pimento stuffed green olives

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Dash of cayenne pepper

Dash of salt

In a large skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium/high heat.  Once the oil has warmed, add onion and garlic, stirring occasionally.  Once softened and translucent (5 to 7 minutes), add ground meat (beef or turkey).  Continue to cook until the meat has browned and cooked thoroughly.  Reduce the heat to medium/low and add the rest of the ingredients.  Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stir occasionally.  Remove from heat and discard bay leaves. Serve with or over white rice.



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