Picadillo Cubano

Picadillo Cubano: Sweet meets savory in Cuba

One of my oldest friends, Jenn, is half Cuban, half Puerto Rican. In college, I went to visit her at the University of Miami, and she took me to the only Cuban restaurant I have ever been to that I really enjoyed (there is more to this: all of the restaurants I ever went to in Vegas weren’t very good, she told me). The food was all delicious, but I absolutely can’t tell you what we ate, since Jenn ordered everything for me in Spanish.

Ingredients for Picadillo Cubano
Ingredients for Picadillo Cubano

Jenn often tells me she has meals she wants to send me to make for the blog, but that she makes everything just like her grandma: there’s no written recipe. (This is a common theme when I ask my friends for recipes). I stumbled across this recipe for Picadillo Cubano and asked Jenn if she’d ever had it. She laughed and responded she has some form of Picadillo Cubano every week, and while she doesn’t like to use raisins, this one looked pretty authentic. The mixture of salty and sweet intrigued me, and I just had to try it out.

Those look like orange slices, but they are actually bell pepper.
Those look like orange slices, but they are actually bell pepper.

I absolutely love olives. I am an olive fiend. I was excited to have a dish that used them very heavily. Plus, since this dish required white wine, that meant I automatically had an excuse to have a glass with dinner. Not bad at all!

Picadillo Cubano
Everything cooking up together in a pretty, colorful pan.

Not only does it have olives, wine, and that little something that made it sweet, Picadillo Cubano was quick and easy for a weeknight. I really can’t ever argue with something that means I get transported somewhere else on a weeknight.

Picadillo Cubano
The finished product!

The resulting flavor was just as I envisioned: salt from the olives, richness from the ground beef, and a touch of sweet from the raisins. It left me feeling satisfied but not heavy. This one is going to be a regular staple for sure. I know now why my friend Jenn cooks this up every week. Try it out for yourself.

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