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Beef Picadillo

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Serves 4-6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 97

A Latin American and Caribbean favorite, picadillo is a savory-sweet ground beef filling that’s delicious wrapped in lettuce leaves. It’s also good in tacos, quesadillas, and omelets.

  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large hard-cooked eggs, finely chopped
  • 6 Tbs. chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 small head Boston lettuce, cored and leaves separated

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with the edge of a spoon, until done, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and raisins and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped eggs, olives, and cilantro. Serve hot with the lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Serving Suggestions

If you're serving in lettuce leaves, start the meal with Poblano-Pepita SalsaHomemade Tortilla Chips, and Black Bean Salad with Mango, Citrus & Crunchy Jicama, but if you're using the filling in a soft taco or quesadilla, make Handmade Corn Tortillas and serve with the salad. 

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 420; Fat (g): fat g 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 7; Protein (g): protein g 34; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 17; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 610; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 165; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is an easy, fast prep recipe that can be tweaked according to preference. I used left over roasted chicken breasts from another meal. Instead of red wine, I substituted white wine and dry, tart cherries for the raisins. I also added finely sliced celery. It turned out to be a quick, light meal for a warm day. My husband loved it. We found it refreshing and satisfying. It is a keeper.

This is an easy, fast prep recipe that can be tweaked according to preference. I used left over roasted chicken breasts from another meal. Instead of red wine, I substituted white wine and dry, tart cherries for the raisins. I also added finely sliced celery. It turned out to be a quick, light meal for a warm day. My husband loved it. We found it refreshing and satisfying. It is a keeper.

My husband and I greatly enjoyed this recipe. I took a tip from another reviewer and substituted dried cranberries for the raisins; it was excellent. Next time, I'll try it with raisins, since that seems to be traditional.

Delicious! Rich combination of flavors yet light with the lettuce and cilantro! Thanks for the recipe! It's a keeper.

My family loves this! My kids, 2.5 and 5, love olives, so I made this when it was published earlier this year and it was a hit. It is tasty without being spicy and fun for them to eat. I'm making it tonight only I'm doubling it and freezing the second batch to give me a night off.

As a brazillian I grew up eating picadillo. Over the years it had been doctored down to kid friendly [no wine, raisins, eggs, olives] with diced potatoes and peas. This reminds me so much of how my mom made it. It contains all the fancier for company versions she made. Most excellent. Thank you

Spectacular. Quick, easy, and quite flavorful. Use a whole grain tortilla or a lettuce wrap.

Excellent ingrdients producing a wonderful sweet and tangy filling. We enjoyed as a lettuce wrap and inside a whole grain tortilla. I did make a second batch using dried cranberries which we preferred over the golden raisins.

This recipe was simple and quick to put together and has a nice combination of flavors. I found it even better the next day.

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