Monday, July 21, 2008

Picadillo Salteado Con Papas (Cuban Beef Hash)

This is my grandmothers recipe for Picadillo (Even though she is Madrileña she lived in Cuba many years and married a Gallego hijo de Español born in Cuba).


Picadillo recipes are debatable, some Cubans add raisins some don't but atleast we can agree it's still Cuban (the one's I know don't and in my house we don't)


Yes other cultures have their own Picadillo, but we do it different and a Cuban Picadillo is different and not like the other Picadillos.

Here is my grandmas Picadillo, SUPER SAVORY no raisins (because we don't like sweetness in it but some do)

-1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef about 85% lean 15% fat (you don't want greasy Picadillo, or you'll have to take alot of grease out when it releases grease later)
-1/2 green bell pepper finely minced
-1/2 onion finely minced
-4 cloves of garlic crushed and minced (I use a mortar and a pestle to crush to a paste with some salt or a garlic press)
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 can 8 oz tomato sauce
-8 oz of water (about a cup) or 12 oz. depends
-salt to taste (be careful the olives and capers are very salty and theres already salt if you crushed the garlic with a mortar)
-extra-virgin olive oil (to sautee)
-3-4 medium or small brown potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes rinsed in running water or put in a bowl of water then drained very well prior to deep-frying
-Oil (I use Canola Oil it leaves a clean crisp taste) to deep-fry/ pan-fry the potatoes

Optional Ingredients:
-1/2 cup (about 12) spanish olives stuffed with pimientos sliced (optional)
-1/4 cup capers drained (optional)
(1)Heat Oil to deep-fry on medium high until it is hot enough, to check if it is hot enough test it by dipping a wooden spoon if it sizzles/ bubbles around it it is ready takes about 5-10 minutes to heat up.

(2)Add cubed rinsed and drained potatoes to deep-fry until golden brown then drain and set aside on a plate with paper towels (they take about 15 minutes to cook well while they are frying start doing the rest of the stuff)
(3)Heat olive oil in a pan on medium high, sautee onions and bell peppers until fragrant and translucent then add garlic and sautee a bit dont let it brown.

(4)Add ground beef and spread it around, let it cook a bit and break it up so it doesnt clump, destroy the large clumps by breaking it up. When it starts releasing some grease heat the pan to high and don't disturb it let it brown a little and then break up any clumbs and sautee well.

(4)Add tomato sauce, some water and bring to a boil stir a bit, season with cumin, add capers and olives cook uncovered 5 minutes. Then taste it to see if it needs more salt maybe a teaspoon or something if necessary. (I always put the amount of salt Im gonna use on my hand before I throw it in it prevents me from over salting be careful once you add to much salt you can't take it away) TURN STOVE OFF

(5)Now fold in deep-fried potato cubes until well mixed, cover until ready to serve


Núria said...

Nathan... you are a cooking-machine!!! Since last time I came there's a tone of new recipes!!!! I can't keep up with your rithymm ;-)

I see you got really angry here! Thanks for showing us the real PIcadillo :D. I see that you use some "strong" words we also use here :D

Pilar - Lechuza said...

Nathan, tus recetas son realmente fantasticas y con lo jovencito que eres, con los años te convertiras en toda un profesional de la cocina !!
Veo que por tu perfil, tienes influencias de muchas culturas. Eso es lo maravilloso de este mundo, poder absorber todo lo mejor de cada una y transmitirsela a los demás.
Gracias y sigue por ese camino.

Un abrazo

Lyra said...

Nathan, me parece un buen ejemplo de picadillo. Nunca he probado un picadillo con papas, pero tendré que experimentar con esta receta!

Gracias por tu comento en mi blog, voy agregar el tuyo a mi blogroll:)

Nathan said...

haha that angry word is my favorite to use (just kidding). Well right now Im on vacation and jobless so I have lots of free time so I have all day to myself.

Pilar - Lechuza-
Gracias, espero que te encante lo demas que me falta poner.

Gracias Lyra, tu Picadillo tambien es otro estilo Cubano de aserlo pero prefiero lo salado sobre lo agri-dulce pero si voy a experimentar con lo agri-dulce de todos modos.Yo ago un delicioso Fricasse de Pollo que es agri-dulce, voy aber si esta semana lo ago.

Elle said...

Nathan, I never once said mine was authentic, in fact, I said I was pretty sure it wasn't. How could it be when it's from a guy named David Rosengarten? What I said was that I tried a few different versions and *this* is the one we like. "We" (my family) like, and that doesn't mean I'm going to track down and harass those that don't like it. I'm not confused and I'm not misunderstanding anything. I didn't title it authentic picadillo, did I? So if someone is looking for authentic picadillo, they can do a google search and go elsewhere. And aside from a few extra ingredients in the one I posted, they're not even that different. I wasn't aware that I'd have the recipe police on my tail for posting something on my own blog. SO IN BORROWING YOUR ALL CAP ANGER, PLEASE LIGHTEN UP. It's food, not the fate of the world. Maybe it would be nice to stop drawing lines in the sand on different cultures and open up to some new things.

Nathan said...


I never got angry at you personally, I think your blog is wonderful, I just criticized the recipe and it had the world "Cuban Style Picadillo", and you said, "I have no idea if this is Cuban Picadillo", but now you now it is not.

Im sorry if it sounded harrasing but it's not my intention to harass you. I was just shocked, and the bold in Spanish is the english equivanlent of, "My reaction was like what the fuck this is Picadillo nuh uh" that'a all.

Nothing towards you as a person or foodie.

Elle said...

Well, I actually said I had no idea if it was authentic. But I in fact did look at quite a few authentic ones (at least they said they were, I make no claims as to their actual authenticity, lol) and the recipe I posted was very similar to those, as it's fairly similar to yours.

I didn't think you sounded harassing, that was just my own choice of words. But a simple "you know, I have Cuban heritage, and this isn't 100% authentic, bit I'll post my family's version--please check it out" would have been all that was needed. Not a post ridiculing me and my blog, along with a link back to it. And I'm not anti-Cuban anything, and really, I don't think that recipe is, either.

But since you're only 18, and still maturing, as you say in your bio, I'll chalk it up to that and remind you that a little tact and thought goes a long way in this world.

At any rate, you have a really nice blog, and wonderful recipes. Which I can rest easy knowing are all 100% authentic. ;)

Elle said...

And no hard feelings here, either.

Nathan said...

I'm sorry Elle I sounded so rude, and if it bugs you I'll just get rid of that stuff I wrote, because my ententions aren't to bug, I will use more "tact" next time though thanks

Elle said...

Don't change your post. You have strong feelings and that's ok.

Hilda said...

Who is to say what's "authentic" or "real" Cuban picadillo? Who do we deem as the authority? Nitza Villapol? My mother? Nathan's grandmother?

There is no reason to believe Nathan's recipe is any more authentic than anyone else's. Add raisins - don't add raisins, add papitas - don't add papitas, add a lot of tomato sauce or paste, or don't.

Just try different ones and follow your preferences. Mostly importantly enjoy the picadillo!

Nathan said...

Hilda in response to "what is authentic" or "traditional" or who is to say, when it comes to Cuban cooking (and this is all my opinion by no means fact)

To me traditional authentic cuban cooking is like you say, "emphasis on old school"

The recipes your cuban mother, aunts, grandmothers, grandpas etc. use to cook. The stuff that was delicious from your child hood that reminds you of your "abuelita" and stuff like that. The flavors you will find in a old cuban grandmothers kitchen that has been passed generation from generation.

Ingredients that Cubans would use and use that is typical, traditional and part of the main stream cuban cooking it's STAPLES. (of course pre-castro because god knows how the communist dictatorship in Cuba has dumbed down our cuisine and cubans over there don't have access to the kitchen stuff available before Castro unless they work for the government in higher positions or their family sends them money)

Cuban food varies from kitchen to kitchen we all got our secret to making it super special but when eating Cuban food there is some expectations and similarities in any dish there are flavors that are expected and elements that make some stuff what they are.

Look at this link, is that link Cuban food? I think not it is a good example of FAKE cuban food not REAL and AUTHENTIC and any Cuban "Que no le falte un tornio" would agree.:

Gordon said...

I enjoyed you recipe. I have made Picadillo many times; however, I have never pre-cooked the potatoes. Your family is right. No raisins!

Anonymous said...

I am Colombian but my poor husband (who is Cuban) never asks me to cook anything Cuban for him (since I don't know). But I know he really really wanted picadillo and this recipe came out so yummy (just like the one his aunt makes)or eve better (maybe)
Thanks so much, I will continue trying your recipes,

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan, i bumped into your blog while I was searching for Portos whole chicken pie (empanada gallega) recipe. Portos is a Cuban style bakery here in Southern California and their chicken empanada is to die for! Would you happen to know the receta for the filling? Is it similar to your picadillo recipe?

Nathan said...

Hola Anonymous,
I have been to Portos several times and although I do not know their exact recipe, I have a recipe that comes out similar.

Basically for filling it's a shredded "Fricase de Pollo", I usually boil chicken breast in water with salt, bouillon powder, onion, garlic, bay leaves for 35- 40 minutes on medium low heat. Shred the chicken and set aside.

Make a sofrito by sauteeing onions, garlic, bell peppers in olive oil, add 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 cup dry white wine, the shredded chicken, 1/4 cup chopped olives, raisins, and maybe 2 tablespoons capers. Allow everything to simmer uncovered for 10- 15 minutes over medium until reduces and thickened. Season salt pepper to taste. This filling is sweet and savory. Be careful with the salt since the olives, capers are salty.

Hope that helped :-)