Latin American Cuisine: Cuban Picadillo


Picadillo is a Cuban-style hash made with ground pork, ground beef, or a combination of both. While simple to make, this classic Cuban dish is extremely flavorful. It begins with a sofrito of finely chopped onion, red bell pepper, and garlic. Sofrito is the base of many Latin American dishes and it is truly the backbone, so avoid taking shortcuts and cook the vegetables slowly, allowing them to sweat rather than crisp and color. Dried cumin, dried oregano, bay leaves, tomato paste, and white wine are additional ingredients that layer the picadillo.

What makes picadillo really sing is the addition of briny, pimento-stuffed green olives, capers, and raisins. I've had versions with and without potatoes and both are great, so if you're reluctant to double-starch (picadillo is served with white rice) feel free to leave them out.

Picadillo blends various textures and flavors, like concentrated saltiness and plump sweetness, which meld together seamlessly in a dish that's symbolic of good Cuban home cooking.