Cuban Picadillo

Picadillo is a staple meal in Cuban, and many other Latin-American, households. Starting with a sofrito, a sauteed mix of onion, garlic, and bell peppers, the base of almost all Cuban meals, ground beef is added and cooked into a delicious tomato-based meal to be served over rice. The delicious meal is a favorite for adults and kids alike.


Serves 4


  • I had an orange pepper on hand so threw that in but traditional green bell peppers are used.

    1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced,
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 can baby peas drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce or 1 can of V8 (I like the bit of sweetness a V8 adds)
  •  large pimento stuffed green olives, quartered for garnish
  • 2 ripe plantains, fried, or 1/3 cup raisins


  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; cook the garlic, onion, and green bell pepper in the oil until softened.
  2. Add the ground beef to the skillet. Break it apart into small pieces while browning.
  3. Once the beef is fully browned drain the excess liquid and put in the refrigerator so the fat can solidify and be removed.
  4. Add the white wine and vinegar and all the spices. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Then add the tomato sauce. Cover the skillet, reduce heat to low, and simmer for at least another 1/2 hour, adding water if it gets too dry.
  6. Take the liquid out of the fridge and remove the solidified fat. Add the remaining liquid back to the sauce.
  7. Meanwhile, make the rice to serve the picadillo over.
  8. About 10 minutes before serving, peel your sweet plantains and slice diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Plantains will have mostly blackened skin and feel soft when they are sweet and ripe. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a pan and fry plantains. When they are a golden brown color flip them and then fry the other side. If you are using raisins instead, add them along with the canned peas about 10 minutes before serving.
  9. Add the peas and olives and allow them to warm before serving.
  10. Serve the picadillo over rice with fried plantains on the side.


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