Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Comfort Food - Picadillo Clasico

Everybody has their go-to comfort food when they are having a bad day.  Well, this one is mine.
It reminds me of my childhood in the Panama Canal Zone.  My brother and I would be playing outside all afternoon.  We knew it was time to head for home when two things happened.  As soon as the sun started fading from the sky, the bats flew out of their caves and swarmed through our neighborhood.  If that didn't send us screaming home, then the DDT truck spraying pesticide throughout the area to control the ever rampant mosquitos, sent us running for cover.

As soon as we opened our front door, we would be hit with a blast of cold air from the air condition and the aroma of my grandmother cooking Picadillo Clasico and white rice.  

Since my grandmother's version is more of "a dash of this and a dash of whatever we have in the house"; the recipe I used here is from a Cuban cookbook, 
"The Taste of Old Cuba" by Maria Josefa Lluria de  O'Higgins.

1 Tblsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup sliced, stuffed green olives
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tblsp. capers
2 Tblsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. sugar
1tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
one 6  oz jar of pimientos, drained and sliced
6 slices of French bread, fried in oil

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute the onion and green pepper until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

2.  Add the beef and break it up well; there should be no lumps.  Stir in the tomato sauce, olives, raisins, capers vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minute, or until the consistency is like that of sloppy joes.

3.  Transfer the picadillo to a serving dish and garnish it with pimientos and rounds of fried bread.


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