Picadillo is a Cuban dish (but makes many other Latin American countries its home) that is a staple in my house. My mom makes the easiest, most delicious Picadillo – and she’s not even Cuban! When my All-American mother married my Mexican father, she learned how to make many of his childhood dinners from his Cuban-Sicilian mother. My mother absorbed these recipes like a pro, and this recipe is so easy that you can too!
I love this dish not only because it represents part of my heritage, but also because it has olives and capers! Serve this on a bed of rice and do not forget to squeeze some extra lime juice on it at the end – the acidity cuts through the oiliness of the meat perfectly and pairs well with the capers.
Note that I suggest you use Mexican oregano. Although it tastes similar to Italian oregano, Mexican oregano is actually a completely different plant. However, do not feel obligated to run to several different stores to find Mexican oregano if your local grocery store doesn’t sell it. Using Italian oregano won’t throw off the taste of the dish.
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1-1.5 lb ground beef
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2-3 Russet potatoes, diced
- 1 tbsp Mexican Oregano, crushed
- 1-2 bay leaves
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp capers
- 10 (or so) olives
- Salt and pepper, to taste
(The green pepper is missing from the photo above but don’t forget it in the dish!)
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the ground beef and cook over medium-high heat. Once the beef is mostly browned, add the green pepper and finish browning the meat. Once the meat is browned, add the tomatoes in juice.
Stir in the potatoes and add the oregano, bay leaves, lime juice, and capers. Make sure the potatoes are submerged in some liquid. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste, then simmer over medium-low heat until the potatoes are cooked, about 20-30 minutes. Stir in olives (as many as you’d like!) 5 minutes before serving.
Serve hot with rice and beans. Enjoy!