I’m always inspired to try new dishes, but I especially love remaking the tried and true. Those dishes that your grandma, mom, and aunt make. The ones that never fail, and take years of practice to truly replicate. I never had the opportunity to learn dishes my Honduran grandma made, so I try my best to store these tasty recipes from the family of friends.
This recipe comes from Abi (Real Name Miriam), she is my husband’s grandma from his dad’s side. This picadillo is absolutely delicious, and what really makes this dish special is the fondness ALL her grandchildren have for it. I think that has to do with the story behind this dish.
Here’s how Babe remembers it.
Every other weekend it was Pop’s turn to take care of the kids. At the time, Pop was a cop and worked ALOT, so he would leave the kids with his parents for the weekend. It was four of them: Brandon, Audrey, Austin, and Hudson.
Here’d they come to a pristine home, to the love of their caring grandparents, and just wreck the place! I promise, that’s how Abi describes it. But every weekend, she would clean up the entire house so that the kids would have a safe and clean place to play. When they left she would clean it all over again. Along with this ritual cleaning, was the making of this Picadillo (Ground Beef). Now I’m not sure what came first, Abi making the Picadillo every weekend, or the kids begging for the dish each time they came to visit. But regardless of the case, the kids LOVED it and wanted it every time they came over.
This is a habit they NEVER grew out of. I remember the first few dinners at Abi’s house, that’s what we would have, Arroz con Picadillo, Platanitos Maduro, y Pan Cubano. Sorry, I can’t shake the spanglish in me, that translates to rice with ground beef, fried sweet plantain, and cuban bread. Of course, she always tries to have a balanced meal so it is always accompanied with a simple lettuce and tomato salad with your choice of various dressings.
Babe has two very distinct memories of these days: watching Saturday morning cartoons and eating Abi’s Picadillo. He says he would have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But I know Abi, and he was probably having eggs in tomato sauce for breakfast.
Needless to say, the woman has perfected the dish, and I got the opportunity to learn from her.
Abi's Traditional Cuban Picadillo
- Large Pot
- Wooden Spoon
- Cutting Board
- 2 Tbspn of Vegetable Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion (2 Cups)
- 1 Red Sweet Pepper (1 Cup)
- 1 Green Pepper (1 Cup)
- 4 Clove of Garlic (2 Tbspn)
- 1 tspn Kosher Salt
- 3 lbs Lean Ground Beef
- 1 tspn of Ac'cent (or 1 tspn Sugar and 1 tspn Kosher Salt)
- 1 Tbspn of Complete Seasoning
- 1/2 tspn of Pepper
- 15 oz Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 Cup White Wine or Water
Total Time: 55 minutes
- Cut sweet pepper and onion into a small dice.
- Heat a large pot to medium heat, add Olive Oil, Onions, and Sweet Pepper. Season with Salt.
- Saute until onions are translucent and aromatic. In the meantime, finely dice garlic.
- Add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add ground beef and season with complete seasoning, Ac'cent (MSG), and Pepper. Stir occasionally until brown and cooked through, about 15-20 min. (If you don't have lean ground beef, pour out extra fat before continuing)
- Stir in White Wine and Tomato Sauce, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes on medium low heat
This dish is incredibly simple to make and is served best with a side of rice and plantains.
If you don’t have white wine or cooking wine, water is a great replacement!
Ac’cent, I learned, is MSG (Mono Sodium Glutimate). I know msg is a controversial topic, so the last time I made this dish with salt and sugar instead and it still tasted great!
This ground beef is super saucy! it would be great as part of a lasagna or pasta!
We mixed it with mashed potatoes and Mexican cheese and made taquitos the next day!