The name picadillo comes from the Spanish verb picar, which means “to chop or mince,” and most of the ingredients in this dish are chopped. Picadillo is prepared in many Latin American countries with several variations, but in essence, it is a comfort food comprised of ground beef, tomato sauce, and vegetables. It is a very flexible dish, and you can change the ingredients to make a picadillo you can call your own. Picadillo is also used as a filling for gorditas and burritos and as a topping for sopes. My son even likes to make sandwiches with picadillo, which are similar to Sloppy Joes! Serve with Arroz Blanco or Arroz Rojo and warm corn tortillas.
Raisins, olives, and capers are other ingredients some cooks add to their picadillo. Add in step 3 with the sauce and peas. The amount of picadillo this recipe makes is enough for stuffing 8 poblano peppers for making Chiles Rellenos.
Excerpted with permission from The Mexican Home Kitchen: Traditional Home-Style Recipes That Capture the Flavors and Memories of Mexico by Mely Martínez (Rock Point 2020). —Mely Martinez
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 6
(450 grams) ground beef
large onion, finely chopped
garlic cloves, minced
(120 grams) diced carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
(140 grams) diced potatoes (about 2 small potatoes)
medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
(145 grams) green peas (if canned, drain, and if frozen, thaw)
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes, using a spatula or wooden spoon to break up any large pieces.
- Stir in the onion and garlic, and continue cooking until the onion is slightly translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for about 5 more minutes. Then add the potatoes and continue cooking for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
- While the meat and vegetables are cooking, place the tomatoes and water in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add this sauce to the skillet and stir in the peas.
- Season with the salt and pepper, and simmer until the vegetables are cooked and the liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. If the liquid reduces before the vegetables are cooked, add about 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water and continue cooking.
- Serve with the rice and tortillas.