Crock Pot Picadillo is very flavorful and easy to make. It is packed with ground beef, black beans,peas and Mexican seasonings. The whole family will love.Ground beef is a staple that you will find at home freezers. Bolognese sauce for spaghetti or lasagna, beef chili, homemade burgers and cocktail meatballs are just a few of the endless recipes from all over the globe that call for it. Today I would like to focus on the Mexican dinnertime favorite, Picadillo. The ingredients used in this dish differ according to the origin of the specific recipe – chefs from different regions traditionally prefer different vegetables, spices and herbs. A soft texture and subtly aromatic combination of tomatoes and beef characterize a basic Picadillo recipe. They serve traditionally Picadillo on white short grained rice.
Like most tasty hash-style meals, the first step involves frying the onions and garlic to create the base for flavor of the dish. Most recipes will recommend you add in finely chopped green peppers together with the other ingredients in a little bit of olive oil. As I’ve said before, soft, buttery fried onions require patience. If you cook them on a very high heat, they will burn. Prepare yourself to stir them over medium heat for ten minutes or more before you add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Actually You can skip this step like I did.
Some chefs like to add in nuts such as shaved almonds for extra crunch. You can use white wine, apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, depending on what you have available and what you prefer. The apple cider will bring out the fresh, crisp flavors in the mixture while the red wine will enhance the richness. Some variations include a few spoons of olive brine in the recipe. Lime juice is also not an uncommon ingredient for Picadillo. Most chefs will recommend pimento stuffed green olives. Green olives tend to be quite bitter without any stuffing, and the sweetness of the pimento’s balances out the flavor. Cut these into vertical slivers for the best effect. But I prefer black sliced olives to green ones. That’s why I will use black olives in this recipe.
Fried, cubed potatoes can be added to the list of ingredients to add body to your Picadillo. Corn is also often on the list. Be weary of adding in too much tomato as the acidic flavor tends to overpower the others. You could even use fresh, cubed tomatoes with the liquid drained from them to guard against this. Tomato paste is a common ingredient too, but be sure to use this, along with tomato sauce or puree, in moderation. Also bear in mind that Cuban Picadillo is not traditionally heavy on liquid, but rather forms a firm meaty mixture that can hold it’s own in a taco or served on a bread-roll. However, recipes from the Philippines result in a much saucier consistency of Picadillo.
Red pepper is a great condiment for Picadillo. Cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder and the combination of all three work wonderfully. Cumin, cinnamon, bay leaves, fresh or dried oregano and cloves all contribute to the aroma of the dish. You may like to add a tablespoon of white or brown sugar to sweeten the dish and balance the mixture of savory and spicy flavors. Tabasco sauce is not an unusual addition and neither is ground black pepper. If you’d like to up the burn factor, why not add in a finely chopped chili or two?
Some recipes require that you use Sazon, which is a type of infused salt you can find in the Mexican or Spanish marketplace. If you can’t get hold of this, why not make your own? Use a combination of your choice of equal parts dried garlic, dried dhania or coriander, cumin, oregano, red or black pepper and dried achiote or annatto. Chayote is an indigenous Mexican fruit that sometimes forms part of a Picadillo recipe. It originates from the same family as squash and it can happily be substituted by a different vegetable such as zucchini as it has a very mild flavor.
When it comes to stock, it is a fact that homemade stock is best. The good news is that it’s not at all difficult to make. Use beef off-cuts or stock bones and place them in a large dish with root vegetables of your choice. Turn the meat or bones over when you see they are a dark brown color. Watch that they don’t burn as this can happen easily. Then you add mixture to a large pot with boiling water and left to simmer for a good few hours.
The fragrance released by Picadillo you create by the combination of sweet and salty flavors. They come from the raisins and olives respectively. Capers are a popular choice as they create tiny pockets of salty flavor in the dish. Some recipes include spicy chorizo slices or crispy bacon bits. Others forgo the beef altogether in favor of ground pork. For a healthier option, you could use turkey or ostrich meat in place of the red meat or pork. For a vegetarian version of Picadillo, leave out the meat and allow the vegetable components to make up the bulk of the meal.
When choosing a side to serve with Picadillo, bear in mind that there are a great deal of interesting options. The beefy sauce lends itself to being used as a filling for a burrito, quesadilla, hard or soft shell taco or even a bell pepper, roasted in the oven.
Black beans are a popular option along with white rice and Picadillo. Put it on crusty bread or use it as a filling for a toasted sandwich. Fried Plaintain pieces, or Tostones are also great as a side or topping on the dish. Store leftovers in the fridge for one to two days or freeze them for up to a month. There are a lot of creative options for using leftover Picadillo, ranging from Picadillo pizza to bite sized empanadas. You can also use it as a topping for pasta or in a pasta bake.
You may like to serve Picadillo with mashed potatoes( for potato lovers) or serve with a heavy red wine or a crisp, cold draught beer.
HOW TO MAKE PICADILLO
- Lean ground beef- 1 kg or 2.5 lb
- Crushed tomatoes with juice- 1 can ( 470 gm
- Red kidney beans/ Black beans- 1 can ( 400 gm/ drained 260 gm)
- Jalapeno chili( seeded & minced) -1
- Garlic cloves( minced)- 2
- Mexican meat spice mix- 3 tbsp
- Cumin seeds- 1 tbsp
- Red chili flakes- ½ tsp
- Salt- To Taste
- Lime juice- 2 tbsp
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)-1/4 cup
- Pitted and sliced black olives- ¼ cup
- Green frozen peas- 1 cup
- Olive oil- 6-7 tbsp
- Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a small pan. Put the minced garlic cloves & Jalapeno chili, fry until slightly brown. Add cumin seeds and continue frying another 20-30 seconds.
- Spray the insert of your slow-cooker with coking spray. Add olive oil, ground beef, crushed tomatoes, red kidney beans/black beans, Mexican spice mix, red chili flakes, lime juice & salt.
- Set "high", cover and cook 5 hours.
- Uncover the slow-cooker, add olives and peas. Adjust the seasonings with salt. Set " low" & cook another 20 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
- Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.
Crock pot,a small pan.