January 31, 2024 | Last Updated on February 22, 2024 by Patricia Valbrun
This Puerto Rican Picadillo (ready in 30 minutes) brings a quick, delightful mix of flavors to your table. It’s a classic dish in Puerto Rican cuisine, combining savory beef, sweet hints, and tangy notes for a truly satisfying meal.
With easy-to-follow steps, you’ll be able to whip up a dish that’s not only straightforward but also packed with authentic flavor.
Simple to prepare and rich in taste, it’s ideal for both experienced cooks and beginners.
Ingredients for Picadillo
Every ingredient in this Puerto Rican Picadillo recipe contributes to its unique taste.
Here’s what you’ll need:
– Ground Beef: Provides a rich and hearty base.
– Avocado Oil: A healthier fat option that adds a subtle, buttery flavor.
– Diced Onions & Red Bell Pepper: Add sweetness and a pop of color.
– Homemade Epis: A Haitian green seasoning blend infusing the dish with depth and tradition, also known as sofrito.
– Sazon and Adobo: These seasonings bring the quintessential Latin American zest.
– Tomato Sauce: Gives the Picadillo its characteristic saucy texture.
– Olives: Introduce a salty contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients.
– Sugar: A touch of sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomato sauce.
– Bay Leaves: Add a layer of aromatic complexity.
How To Make Picadillo (Ready in 30 Minutes)
Puerto Rican Picadillo is more than just a meal; it celebrates culture, tradition, and the simple joy of cooking. By following this recipe, you’re preparing a delicious dish and partaking in a culinary tradition that spans generations.
1. Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Begin by sautéing the diced onions and red bell pepper until they start to soften, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the ground beef to the skillet with the sautéed vegetables. Break the beef apart with a spoon and cook until it’s fully browned.
3. Stir in the epis, sazon, and adobo, ensuring the spices evenly coat the meat and vegetables.
4. Mix in the tomato sauce and water. Sprinkle the sugar over the mixture and stir well to combine.
5. Add the sliced olives and bay leaves to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend together beautifully.
What Is Picadillo?
Puerto Rican Picadillo is a flavorful, ground meat-based dish that is the cornerstone of Puerto Rican cuisine. It’s made by sautéing ground beef (or sometimes pork) with a rich blend of ingredients, including onions, bell peppers, garlic, and various aromatic spices.
What sets the Puerto Rican version apart is specific local seasonings like sazón and adobo, which infuse the dish with a unique, vibrant flavor. Additionally, it often includes olives and capers, adding a salty depth and sometimes raisins for a hint of sweetness, creating a delightful balance of savory and sweet tastes.
This version of Picadillo is typically served with rice, used as a filling for empanadas or pastelillos (fried turnovers), and can even be enjoyed with tostones (fried plantains) for a truly authentic Puerto Rican meal.
Picadillo Instant Pot/ Crockpot Version
For those who prefer the convenience of set-it-and-forget-it cooking, the Instant Pot or Crockpot offers a fantastic alternative. This method simplifies the cooking process and enhances the flavors, allowing them to meld together perfectly over time.
The critical difference lies in the cooking time: the Instant Pot version is ready in about 20 minutes, while the Crockpot will require a few hours on low to achieve the same tender, flavorful result.
For Crockpot: After mixing ingredients, shift to a crockpot and set on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
For Instant Pot: Sauté ingredients, then cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
Picadillo as a Filling Ingredient
Unleash the versatility of Picadillo by using it as a filling for empanadas and tacos or even as a savory topping for rice. Its rich flavor makes it an excellent complement to various dishes, transforming simple meals into gourmet experiences. This adaptability makes Picadillo a staple in Puerto Rican kitchens and beyond.
Storage and Reheating
Maximize the longevity of your Picadillo by storing it properly. The fridge keeps it well for up to 4 days in an airtight container. For more extended storage, freeze it for up to 3 months.
Reheating is a breeze: warm it in the microwave or stove, adding water to keep it moist.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Learn how to customize your Picadillo, ensuring it caters to all dietary preferences and tastes.
- Can I make this Picadillo vegetarian or vegan? A:Yes, substitute ground beef with lentils, textured vegetable protein, or a vegan meat substitute. Adjust the cooking time as needed.
- How can I adjust the recipe if I don’t have Epis or Sofrito? A: Create a simple mix of garlic, cilantro, bell pepper, onion, and olive oil as a substitute. This won’t mimic Epis exactly but will offer a flavorful alternative.
- Is there a difference between Puerto Rican Picadillo and Cuban Picadillo? A: Yes, Puerto Rican Picadillo often includes olives and capers and may have a hint of sweetness from sugar. Cuban Picadillo might feature potatoes and emphasize a sweet-sour balance with raisins and olives.
- Can I freeze Picadillo? A: Cool it down, then freeze it in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat with some added water or broth.
- How can I serve Puerto Rican Picadillo for a complete meal? A: Serve it with white rice as a filling for empanadas or tacos, or for a low-carb option, try it over cauliflower rice. Fried plantains make a sweet and savory side.
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Puerto Rican Picadillo Recipe (Ready in 30 Minutes)
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 1/2 cups onions diced
- 1 cup red bell pepper diced
- 1/3 cup epis Haitian seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon sazon
- 2 teaspoons adobo
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup olives Sliced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 bay leaves
- Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Begin by sautéing the diced onions and red bell pepper until they start to soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet with the sautéed vegetables. Break the beef apart with a spoon and cook until it’s fully browned.
- Stir in the epis, sazon, and adobo, ensuring the spices evenly coat the meat and vegetables.
- Mix in the tomato sauce and water. Sprinkle the sugar over the mixture and stir well to combine.
- Add the sliced olives and bay leaves to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend together beautifully.
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