My first taste of Cuban food was in 1982 when I moved to Cayo Hueso aka Key West, Florida. I immediately fell in love with not only the town and people but the food which was heavily influenced by the large Cuban population. Although I had nothing to compare it with the locals assured me it was authentic.
In late 84′ I moved to Tampa which still had a good share of authentic Cuban food. Over the last 2 decades there seemed to be a steady decline of authenticity and quality food for reasons I contribute to the slow but steady decline of traditional society and values. In order to have this delicious food more often I decided to learn to cook it myself.
While I am sure somewhere someone’s grandmother would beg to differ with how authentic my version is I get no complaints from my Cracker husband. This lovely version of picadillo is my first and it is easy and quick enough for a weeknight treat! I opt to not use pre packaged yellow rice and Adobo seasoning and make my own because it’s healthier and doesn’t take much time.
However I don’t judge so feel free to take any shortcuts that you want to. It will still taste homemade and be better for you than most restaurant fare.
1 tablespoon beef tallow, lard or coconut oil
1 pound grass fed 90/10 ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 large green pimiento stuffed olives, sliced
1 tablespoon capers
8 oz can tomato sauce* (no crap added)
2.8 oz homemade “Goya Adobo”**
sea salt to taste
1 cup organic basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock (can substitute)
1 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of coriander
2 teaspoons grass fed butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup frozen organic peas, thawed
1 tbs coriander
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs sea salt
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
*my favorite is Muir Glen
**contains msg, make your own
In a large cast iron skillet melt the fat over medium heat. Add the onions and green peppers and saute until slightly tender about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes longer.
Add the ground beef and saute until browned about 5 – 7 minutes. Add in the raisins, capers, tomato sauce and seasonings and stir well. Cover the skillet, reduce to low and cook until heated through about 5 to 7 minutes.
At the same time prepare the rice. . .
In a small saucepan heat the turmeric and coriander for a few seconds over medium high heat to release the fragrance. Add the stock, sea salt and butter and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stir well, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook covered without stirring until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 – 20 minutes.
Add the peas, stir then re cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Mix spices together well; measure out 2.8 oz and store remainder for future use.