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Cuban Style Picadillo

Cuban style picadillo is an easy 30 minute dinner that the whole family will love and is perfect for a busy weeknight meal made with ground beef, raisins and olives simmered in a tomato sauce served over rice.

a bowl of picadillo served over rice next to a skillet and fork

What is picadillo?

You can find a version of picadillo throughout Latin America. Some might add potatoes and corn is my family’s own addition to this dish although I do often make it without it. It just depends on what I have on hand and what mood I’m in. 

Some countries use it as empanada filling (which is why my family calls this empanada rice), others use it as filling for papa rellenas (a kind of croquette made with mashed potatoes rolled into balls stuffed with the filling and deep fried), or you might find it in alcapurilla (tubes of dough wrapped around the filling and deep fried) all of which are equally good.  

This is a super easy meal to make on a busy weeknight and also really easy to double and save the leftovers to use in baked empanadas later. 

ingredients to make this dish

Ingredients

  • ground beef 
  • olive oil
  • diced onions
  • garlic cloves
  • tomato paste
  • cumin
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • paprika
  • oregano 
  • diced tomatoes
  • raisins
  • sliced green olives 
  • corn

Possible substitutions:

You can substitute ground turkey for the beef. 

Another good addition to the dish would be small diced potatoes which you would add in the same step with the raisins.

showing steps to make this dish

How to make this:

Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat. Remove the meat from the pan and drain the grease from the skillet. 

Next, add the olive oil, onions and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. 

Then, add the tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano and mix together well. Then add the diced tomatoes and raisins and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. 

Finally, add the green olives and corn and simmer until heated through, about 2-3 more minutes. Serve over rice.

Top Tips

If using frozen corn, thaw before using. 

This can also be used as a filling for empanadas. Make a double batch and freeze to use for empanadas later. 

Top tips for cooking with kids

Using a fun tool like this meat basher can be a really good way to engage kids in the cooking process.

Also, give them a printed version of the recipe and have them check off each item as it is added.

See here for more tips on cooking with kids!

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Other 30 minute recipes you may like:

a close up of the picadillo with olives, corn, and raisins

Cuban style picadillo

Cuban style picadillo is an easy 30 minute dinner that the whole family will love and is perfect for a busy weeknight meal made with ground beef, raisins and olives simmered in a tomato sauce served over rice.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: Latin American
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 363kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onions about 1 small onion
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons oregano
  • 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sliced green olives
  • ¾ cup corn

Instructions

  • Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium high heat. Remove the meat from the pan and drain the grease from the skillet.
  • Next, add the olive oil, onions and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Return the meat to the pan.
  • Then, add the tomato paste, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano and mix together well. Then add the diced tomatoes and raisins and bring mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Finally, add the green olives and corn and simmer until heated through, about 2-3 more minutes. Serve over rice.

Notes

If using frozen corn, thaw before using.
This can also be used as a filling for empanadas. Make a double batch and freeze to use for empanadas later.
Substitutions or additions:
You can substitute ground turkey for the beef. Another good addition is small diced potatoes (add with the raisins).

Nutrition

Calories: 363kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 927mg | Potassium: 674mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 441IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 4mg
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