This is another recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that caught my eye. Partly from it being a Latin type dish and partly from the dish itself with all the flavors in it. Picadillo was described as a humble dish, a simple hash type dish, but one that would turn out to be not so humble from a flavor standpoint. And I would agree. There are a lot of flavors working in this dish. It was good and there was enough going on that each bite was a little different.
I’ll admit that I had never heard of Picadillo prior to reading this article so a lot of the discussion on how to make the dish easier, better, etc. was a little lost on me but it was still an informative read. Things such as adding ground pork to a dish with ground beef can help to increase the sweetness of the dish. Treating the meat with baking soda will help with the tenderness and, theoretically, it won’t dry out as much. I also thought the method of simmering the meat in larger chunks, breaking it up as it cooked, was an interesting take rather then cooking it and adding it in later. It seemed to work pretty well and we wound up with larger pieces of meat than we might normal by just browning it. That is because instead of trying to break it up so it all cooks, I knew the simmering would be cooking it so I was less concerned about.
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 TBSP water
1/2 TSP baking soda
Salt and pepper
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 2″ pieces
1 onion, halved and cut in 2″ pieces (I used a half onion and just quartered the half)
2 TBSP vegetable oil (or canola)
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP ground cumin
1/2 TSP ground cinnamon
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped coarse (I used a same size came of pre-diced tomatoes)
3/4 cup dry white wine (Pino Grigio for me)
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup raisins
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup pimento stuffed great olives, chopped coarse
2 TBSP capers, rinsed (I skipped these)
1 TBSP red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning (I didn’t use any extra)
Toss beef and pork with water, baking soda, 1/2 TSP salt and 1/4 TSP pepper in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Since the two packages I had of meat were frozen tubes, I broke it apart into pieces, maybe 2″ each, and mixed it up before adding the rest. Let sit about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse bell pepper and onion in food processor until chopped into 1/4″ pieces. You’ll have to eyeball this. It said about 12 pulses. At about 9 mine was almost puréed. But it worked.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven (or big pot) over medium high heat until shimmering. Add chopped veggies, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and 1/4 TSP salt. Cook,stirring frequently, until it is just starting to brown, about 6-8 minutes made the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and wine and cook, scraping the bottom to get up any of the browned bits until the pot is almost dry. Maybe 5 minutes. Stir in broth, raisins and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium low, add meat mixture in 2″ chunks (how I already had it) to the pot, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, for about 10 minutes. Meat should be cooked through.
Discard bay leaves. Add olives and capers. Increase heat to medium high and cook,stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened a bit, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste (a few shakes from each shaker for me).
The dish is traditional served with rice and beans. I added brown rice and black beans. Tried to be creative in the presentation rather than dumping it all together.