20 minutes prep 45 minutes active cooking 1 hour + 5 minutes total
Makes 4-6 servings

Originally from Spain...

picadillo evolved to become an essential element of the cultural identity for Cubans, Mexicans, Filipinos, and other survivors of the former colonial empire. It’s quick and relatively easy to make from everyday ingredients, but the complex, layered flavors make it feel a little extravagant.

While the picadillo in the Caribbean is different from what you might find in Manila, they all share a similar base of ground meat, most often beef, flavored with slowly cooked aromatics, typically a sofrito made with onion, peppers, and garlic. Most versions include tomatoes in some form, and raisins provide a sweet counterpoint to the salty and savory elements.

Our picadillo borrows from them all. We like the jalapeño heat from Mexico, the salty capers used by Cubans, and, in a nod to the original, the sherry-like rancio sec wine from the Pyrenees.

What You'll Need


For the shopping list

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium-large yellow potato, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup raisins or currants
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

From our shop

1 teaspoon of  Fine Kosher Sea Salt
$18.00– Gossen Island - Norway
3 tablespoons of  Novo Frantoio
$27.00– Tuscany - Italy
1 pound of  Trent Farms Ground Beef
$8.50– Cloverdale - Oregon
2 tablespoons of  Double Concentrated Tomato Paste
$6.00– Naples - Italy
1/2 can of  Crushed Tomatoes
$7.00– Yolo Valley - California
2 tablespoons, soaked & rinsed of  Capers in Sea Salt
$20.00– Pantelleria - Sicily
1 teaspoon of  Oregano
$9.00– Pantelleria - Sicily
Out of stock

1/4 teaspoon of  Cinnamon Verum
$10.00– Zanzibar - Tanzania
Out of stock

1/4 teaspoon of  Smoked Pimentón Paprika
$10.00– Extremadura - Spain
1/2 cup of  Le Demon de Midi
$20.00– Saint-Paul-de-Fenouillet - France
substitute fino sherry


From the kitchen

  • dutch oven or large cast iron
  • spatula
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons

Chris Bianco’s Search for the Best Tomatoes

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What you'll have to do

Step 1

In a Dutch oven or large skillet, cook the onion and peppers in the olive oil and salt until very soft, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Step 2

Move the vegetables to the edges of the skillet and add the ground beef, pressing it down to fill the center of the pan. Cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes or until nicely browned, then break it up with a spatula.

Step 3

Clear a spot in the skillet and add the tomato paste. Let it cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes or until it’s beginning to darken. Stir into the beef mixture.

Step 4

Add the 1/2 can of tomatoes, potato, 2 tablespoons of capers, olives, 1/4 cup of raisins, 1/4 cup of golden raisins, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of pimenton, and 1/2 cup of wine. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potato is tender. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve with rice, over pasta, on buns, or as a taco filling.

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