Recipe: Traditional Cuban Ground Beef Dish (Picadillo)

by Irina Gonzalez on January 6, 2011

in RECIPES,Recipes My Mom Was Too Busy To Teach Me

One of the hardest things to balance as I work to maintain my 100lb weight loss is the desire to indulge in the food I used to eat as a kid with my family. I decided to make picadillo (a ground beef dish) that I was actually never a huge fan of when I was younger. But since I never learned to cook this, I called my mom to get instructions for another meal in my “Recipes My Mom Was Too Busy To Teach Me” series.

Cuban Ground Beef (Picadillo)

-2lbs lean ground beef
-1 small potato
-3 garlic cloves
-1/2 bell pepper
-1 large onion
- 1/3 cup olives
-1/3 cup raisins
-1 can tomato sauce
-salt & pepper to taste


1. Take your potato and cut it into small, 1/2 inch pieces.

2. Take your onion and pepper and chop them into small, equal pieces. Separate. Mince the garlic and separate.

3. Take your potato and sautee it until they are almost done, about 15 minutes.

4. Collect your olives and set aside.

5. Measure out your raisins and set aside.

6. Check that all of your ingredients are together. Open the can of tomato sauce.

7. Put oil in a large pan and cook your beef on high heat. Cook well through, until no more pink remains and the meat is done. Season well while it is cooking.

8. Add in your onions, cook for a few minutes. Then, add in the peppers and cook for another few minutes. Finally, add in the garlic and cook.

9. Finally, add in the can of tomato sauce, your raisins, olives and cooked potato chunks. Cook everything together for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Once it’s done, plate and serve with cooked rice.

When I made this, I had a six friends over for a dinner party. The picadillo turned out really well and everyone loved it. I actually ended up making too much, so I gave some away for people to take home and froze some myself for later. This is a classic Cuban dish and was really delicious. However, next time I would like to try making this with ground turkey or chicken to make it healthier. I might even add in more random veggies for fun.

*Recipe from my mom, who got it from my grandmother.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

des May 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm

picadillo recipe


maribel agullo January 29, 2012 at 8:43 am

Hi, I’m from Puerto Rico and we make the picadillo without potatoes. we first prepare the stir fry with onions, garlic and peppers, THEN add the meat and proceed as in your recipe. add a pinch of cumin powder for flavor (and reduce salt intake at the same time). Should be accompanied by steamed white rice but brown rice also works.

Good luck with your journey, thanks for sharing.


Irina Gonzalez February 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Thanks for the tip on lowering salt, Maribel! I definitely agree that traditionally in Cuba we have it with white rice, but I like doing it with brown rice these days for the added health benefits. :)


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