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    Puerto Rican Picadillo

    Picadillo… pronounced pee-kah-dee-yaw [pikaˈðiʎo], looks and sounds so exotic and, yes, so Spanish..!!! This classic Latin ground beef dish comes in many forms, but this Puerto Rican version is one of my favorites. It’s so versatile, great in tacos, burritos, empanadas or alongside rice and plantains. Today I’m using the basic stovetop method, but read on for crock pot and instant pot methods…

    puerto rican picadillo in a blue dutch oven surreounded by bell peppers and cilantro

    This is a very traditional home-style dish cooked in Spain and many Latin American countries. It has countless variations, and one may argue theirs is the best. Yet when I try different styles, I feel every single one is the winner. You can play with ingredients, add this subtract that, and each version turns out mighty good!

    puerto rican picadillo in a white bowl

    How can you go wrong with all those fragrant Latin herbs and spices? The adobos and sofritos mixed with ground meat, mostly beef or pork but sometimes both. And then in goes tomato, peppers, onions, olives… yes, olives… ever hear of olives in a meat stew? But you find them in lots of Cuban or Latin recipes. And some, but not all, use raisins. I have experimented with many different variations and I love the sweetness of raisins mixed in with saltiness of olives in my picadillo.

    puerto rican picadillo in a white bowl, with another bowl in the background

    So, how did I cross paths with picadillo? Can you believe I didn’t even know such deliciousness existed just few years back? But it was just destiny that when we were in one of the Latin restaurants here… remember, I live in sunny Florida where you find nice Latin restaurants… it was recommended by our waiter. God bless that soul. I was blown over by the fragrances and the flavors of the dish! I made sure I perfected my own version.   

    Let’s gather some ingredients for our Puerto Rican Picadillo…

    As I said, it’s usually made with ground beef or a mixture of ground beef and pork. But you can also make this with ground chicken or turkey for a leaner (if less traditional) dish. Then I like to use green, red and yellow peppers, because I’m kinda colorful!

    ingredient shot for puerto rican picadillo

    Onions. Garlic… you didn’t think I would forget my garlic, did you? Olives, raisins, tomato sauce, olive oil, oregano, cumin, cilantro…

    some of the ingredients for puerto rican picadillo

    Now you are going to learn about some Puerto Rican pantry staples. First comes Adobo seasoning, an all purpose seasoning salt with mixed spices and garlic. I often use Goya brand… I love Goya products when it comes to Latin recipes… but sometimes I make my own, which I am using in this recipe. Hmm… future post idea!

    a bowl of sofrito

    Then it’s sofrito’s turn. Sofrito is a green base puree or seasoning, which you find in most Latin refrigerators or sometimes frozen as ice cubes. No need to thaw before cooking and just throw in your dish! I like to make it in big batches, as it freezes well. If I am in a hurry I just use my Goya sofrito. The result is almost the same as homemade sofrito… almost … but there is nothing like homemade. So if you really feel like tangoing in the kitchen, yes, go ahead and make this great green base in bulk. It’s too easy!! Store as frozen cubes so you can just use when needed.

    Check out my super easy Homemade Sofrito Recipe!

    Another seasoning I use for picadillo is one you would find in the Latin section of most grocery stores… Sazon Goya (the “cilantro y achiote” variety). Don’t get intimidated by all these Latin things if you live somewhere you don’t have access to them. You can still make a mighty tasty picadillo if you miss one. But then again… Amazon!

    Now, let’s start building this Latin delight…

    chopped red, yellow and green peppers with onions and garlic in a blue dutch oven

    sauté onions, garlic and peppers…

    chopped red, yellow and green peppers with onions and garlic with a dab of sofrito in a blue dutch oven

    Once they are a little soft, add a nice glob of sofrito…

    ground beef with peppers and onions, with a glob of tomato sauce, in a blue dutch oven

    Brown beef… add Sazon, oregano, cumin and tomato sauce…

    ground beef mixture in dutch oven during the preparation of puerto rican picadillo. olives and raisins have just been added.

    Olives and raisins… almost ready…!!

    puerto rican picadillo in dutch oven with red bell pepper and cilantro on the side

    Crock Pot method

    Cooking picadillo in a slow cooker is great if you want a make ahead meal so you can relax in the evening. It also yields extra tender beef.

    Season ground beef with adobo. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onion, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté till onion is translucent.

    Add in ground beef. Crumble and stir until browned. Transfer the meat mixture to slow cooker. Add in sazon seasoning, sofrito, oregano, cumin, tomato sauce and a little water. Stir to combine.

    Close the lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or 3-4 hours on high. Add olives and raisins during the last hour of cooking time.

    Instant Pot method

    Are you hooked on this kitchen gizmo, like me? Picadillo is very easy in your pressure cooker.

    Season the meat with adobo. Press sauté button on your instant pot and add in oil. When hot, sauté onion, garlic and bell peppers until they are soft and the onion is translucent.

    Add in meat and crumble while sautéing, till it’s no longer pink. Add in sofrito and cook for a minute. Add in sazon seasoning, oregano, cumin and tomato sauce. Pour in a quarter cup of water and mix well.

    Cover, seal the lid, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Use a natural or quick release, then open the lid.

    How to serve picadillo

    We go all out on Latin nights… rice, black beans and, of course, plantains!

    It also makes a great filling for tacos, burritos and empanadas.

    two bowls of puerto rican picadollo with wihte rice, black beans and plantains

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    Puerto Rican Picadillo, on my GypsyPlate… Enjoy!

    puerto rican picadillo with white rice, black beans and plantains on the gypsy plate

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    puerto rican picadillo in a blue dutch oven

    Puerto Rican Picadillo

    Yield: 8 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    A classic, home-style, Latin American dish. There are many variations, but this is my favorite so far!

    Ingredients

    • 2 lbs ground beef
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1/2 green bell pepper
    • 1/2 red bell pepper
    • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
    • 3 Tbsp garlic
    • 4 Tbsp sofrito
    • 1 packet Sazon seasoning (see note 1)
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 14 oz tomato sauce
    • 1/3 cup raisins
    • 1/3 cup pimento stuffed olives
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp cilantro

    Instructions

    Stove Top Method

    1. Season ground beef with adobo.
    2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers and garlic,
      sauté until onion is translucent.
    3. Add sofrito and sauté until fragrant and a little oil starts separating from your veggies.
    4. Add ground beef, crumble, and stir until browned, about 7-10 minutes.
    5. Add Sazon seasoning, oregano, cumin, and tomato sauce. Continue stirring.
    6. Add olives, raisins, cilantro and a little water. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes,
      stirring occasionally, until meat is nicely cooked and oil starts separating on top of meat.
    7. Serve over white rice. Enjoy!

    Crock Pot Method

    1. Season ground beef with adobo.
    2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onion, bell peppers and garlic. Sauté till onion is translucent.
    3. Add in ground beef. Crumble and stir until browned.
    4. Transfer the meat mixture to slow cooker. Add in sazon seasoning, sofrito, oregano, cumin, tomato sauce and a little water. Stir to combine.
    5. Close the lid and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or 3-4 hours on high.
    6. Add olives and raisins during the last hour of cooking time.

    Instant Pot Method

    1. Season the meat with adobo.
    2. Add oil to the pressure cooker and press the sauté button. When hot, add onion ,garlic and bell peppers. Sauté till they are soft and onion is translucent.
    3. Add in meat and crumble while sautéing, till it is no longer pink.
    4. Add in sofrito and cook for a minute. Add in sazon seasoning, oregano, cumin and tomato sauce. Add in a quarter cup of water and mix well.
    5. Cover, seal the lid, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
    6. Use natural or quick release and open the lid.








    Notes

    1. Sazon is a seasoning found in the Latin section of your grocery store. I prefer Goya brand, “cilantro y achiote” variety.
    2. A nice platter: Picadillo, rice, black beans, plantains and a slice of avocado!
    3. This is a big recipe. You can cut it in half, but better yet, impress some company or have leftovers for days!

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 8 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 405Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 101mgSodium 556mgCarbohydrates 12gFiber 2gSugar 7gProtein 33g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    ingredients for picadillo, with the finished result displayed below

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