This Picadillo Recipe is made with ground beef, onion, jalapeños, chili powder, cumin, and garnished with cilantro and limes.
Welcome to our culinary journey where we delve into the rich flavors and comforting aromas of traditional dishes. Today, we are excited to introduce you to the delightful world of Picadillo with Potatoes. This beloved Latin American recipe combines the heartiness of ground beef with the satisfying texture of diced potatoes, resulting in a mouthwatering dish that will leave you craving more.
Let your taste buds anticipate the exciting combination of tender ground beef, savory spices, and the humble yet remarkable potato. Prepare to be captivated by the irresistible charm of my Picadillo Recipe with Potatoes, a dish that transcends borders and brings people together through the shared joy of good food.
What is Picadillo?
Picadillo is a savory and flavorful dish that is popular in many Latin American countries, as well as in the Philippines and Spain. The word "picadillo" comes from the Spanish verb "picar," which means "to chop" or "to mince," reflecting the finely chopped or minced ingredients typically used in the dish.
While there are regional variations, the basic components of picadillo typically include ground meat (such as beef, pork, or a combination), onions, garlic, and a variety of seasonings and vegetables. The ingredients are often cooked together, resulting in a delicious and versatile mixture that can be enjoyed in various ways.
The beauty of picadillo lies in its adaptability. It can be served as a main course alongside rice or used as a filling in tacos, empanadas, or stuffed peppers. The flavors of picadillo vary from region to region, with each locale adding its own unique touch. Some versions may incorporate ingredients like tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, raisins, potatoes, or even fruits like apples or plantains to add complexity and depth to the dish. My favorite version is this one, which is Mexican Picadillo.
Why you will love this Picadillo Recipe
- Bursting with Flavor: This Picadillo recipe is packed with a delightful blend of savory and aromatic flavors. The combination of spices, herbs, and seasonings creates a delicious medley that will tantalize your taste buds.
- Versatile and Adaptable: Picadillo is incredibly versatile, making it suitable for various culinary experiences. Whether you choose to serve it over rice, stuff it into empanadas, or use it as a filling for tacos or stuffed peppers, this recipe offers flexibility and can be enjoyed in different ways to suit your preferences.
- Easy to Make: This Picadillo recipe is straightforward and accessible, making it perfect for both beginner and experienced cooks. With simple techniques and readily available ingredients, you can whip up a delicious and satisfying meal in no time.
- Comforting and Homestyle: Picadillo is the epitome of comfort food. It brings a sense of warmth and nostalgia to the table, reminiscent of home-cooked meals that have been cherished for generations. The combination of familiar ingredients and comforting flavors will evoke feelings of contentment and satisfaction.
Picadillo Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Olive oil
- Red onion
- Red potatoes
- Ground beef
- Diced tomatoes with green chilies
- Chili powder
- Bay leaves
See recipe card for quantities for Picadillo with Potatoes.
How to make Picadillo
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped red onion, minced garlic, and minced jalapeño to the skillet. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes until the onion becomes translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the diced potatoes to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes start to soften.
Push the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and potatoes to one side of the skillet, creating space in the center. Add the ground beef to the center of the skillet and break it up with a spatula or spoon. Cook the ground beef until it is browned and fully cooked. Once the ground beef is cooked, mix it with the sautéed onion, garlic, jalapeño, and potatoes in the skillet.
Add the diced tomatoes with green chilies to the skillet, along with the chili powder, cumin, and bay leaves. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. Remove the skillet from the heat and discard the bay leaves.
Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the picadillo and sprinkle it with chopped cilantro. Stir to incorporate the lime juice and cilantro throughout. Taste the picadillo and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve the picadillo hot over steamed rice or with warm tortillas. It can be garnished with additional cilantro, if desired.
What to serve with Picadillo Recipe
- Rice: The most common and traditional accompaniment to Picadillo is steamed white rice. The fluffy rice serves as a neutral base that absorbs the savory sauce, allowing the flavors of the Picadillo to shine. You can opt for plain white rice or explore aromatic varieties like jasmine or basmati rice for added fragrance. Check out my Cilantro Lime Rice.
- Tortillas or Soft Tacos: Serve Picadillo as a filling for warm tortillas or soft tacos. The combination of the flavorful meat mixture and the soft, pliable tortillas creates a delightful handheld meal. Offer an array of toppings such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream, and salsa for customization. Check out my Flour Tortillas Recipe.
- Plantains: Sweet or savory, plantains make a fantastic side dish for Picadillo. You can slice them and fry them to create crispy plantain chips as a crunchy accompaniment, or you can opt for sweet and caramelized maduros (ripe plantains) to add a touch of natural sweetness to balance the savory flavors of the Picadillo. Check out my Dominican Tostones.
- Avocado: Sliced or diced avocado can provide a creamy and cooling element to offset the spices in the Picadillo. Its mild flavor and buttery texture create a delightful contrast to the savory dish.
- Olive oil: You can substitute vegetable oil, canola oil, or any other neutral-tasting oil.
- Red onion: White onion or yellow onion can be used as a substitute for red onion.
- Garlic: If you don't have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder or granulated garlic. Alternatively, you can use minced garlic from a jar.
- Jalapeno: If you prefer a milder heat, you can substitute jalapeno with a milder chili pepper, such as Anaheim pepper or poblano pepper. You can also use canned diced green chilies for a milder flavor.
- Red potatoes: If red potatoes are not available, you can use Yukon gold potatoes or any other waxy potato variety. Just ensure they are diced to a similar size for even cooking.
- Ground beef: Ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork can be substituted for ground beef. You can also use a plant-based ground meat substitute for a vegetarian version.
- Diced tomatoes with green chilies: If you don't have canned diced tomatoes with green chilies, you can use canned diced tomatoes and add some chopped fresh green chilies or a small amount of canned diced green chilies separately.
- Chili powder: If you don't have chili powder, you can make a substitute by combining equal parts cumin, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper for a touch of heat.
- Cumin: Cumin is a key spice in picadillo, but if you don't have it, you can try using ground coriander or a blend of equal parts ground coriander and ground fennel seeds for a similar aromatic flavor.
- Bay leaves: If you don't have bay leaves, you can omit them or substitute with a small amount of dried thyme or oregano for an herbaceous note.
- Limes: If you don't have limes, you can substitute with lemons. The acidity and tang will still complement the dish.
- Cilantro: If you're not a fan of cilantro or don't have it on hand, you can use fresh parsley as a substitute. It won't have the same flavor profile, but it will still provide a touch of freshness.
Picadillo Recipe Variations
- Regional Variations:
- Mexican Picadillo: In Mexican cuisine, picadillo often includes ingredients like diced carrots, peas, and raisins, adding a touch of sweetness and texture to the dish.
- Cuban Picadillo: Cuban picadillo commonly incorporates olives and capers, giving it a briny and tangy flavor. It is often served with white rice and black beans.
- Puerto Rican Picadillo: Puerto Rican picadillo may include sofrito (a mixture of sautéed onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs) and tomato sauce for added depth of flavor.
- Vegetarian or Vegan Picadillo:
- Substitute the ground beef with plant-based ground meat substitute or crumbled tofu for a vegetarian or vegan version. Ensure you season it well to mimic the savory flavors of meat.
- Add a variety of vegetables such as diced zucchini, corn, or bell peppers to enhance the texture and flavor.
- Picadillo with Different Meats:
- Instead of ground beef, try using ground pork, ground turkey, or a combination of meats to create a unique flavor profile.
- For a lighter twist, consider using ground chicken or ground turkey breast.
- Spice and Heat Variations:
- Adjust the spice level by adding more or less chili powder, cayenne pepper, or your preferred hot sauce to suit your taste.
- Experiment with different types of chili peppers, such as serrano peppers or poblano peppers, to vary the heat level and flavor profile.
Check out this Pork Birria Tacos.
- Large skillet or saute pan: A skillet or saute pan with high sides is ideal for cooking the picadillo mixture. Make sure it's large enough to accommodate all the ingredients and allow for stirring.
- Cutting board: A sturdy cutting board is essential for chopping and preparing the ingredients, such as onions, garlic, jalapenos, and potatoes.
- Chef's knife: A sharp chef's knife will make it easier to chop and mince the ingredients. It's crucial for efficient and safe food preparation.
- Wooden spoon or spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is useful for stirring and sautéing the ingredients in the skillet.
- Measuring cups and spoons: Accurate measurements are important for achieving the right balance of flavors. Have a set of measuring cups and spoons on hand to measure the ingredients, such as chili powder, cumin, lime juice, etc.
- Can opener: If you're using canned diced tomatoes with green chilies or any other canned ingredients, a can opener will be needed to open the cans.
- Citrus juicer or reamer: If you're using fresh limes and want to extract their juice, a citrus juicer or reamer will come in handy to squeeze out the juice easily.
- Serving dish or bowl: Once the picadillo is cooked, you'll need a serving dish or bowl to present and serve the dish.
How to store Picadillo
To store picadillo properly, follow these guidelines:
- Cool Down: Allow the cooked picadillo to cool down to room temperature before storing. Leaving it out at room temperature for no more than 2 hours is generally safe.
- Airtight Container: Transfer the picadillo to an airtight container, such as a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure the container is clean and free of any residual moisture.
- Label and Date: It's a good practice to label the container with the date of preparation. This will help you keep track of its freshness and ensure you use it within a reasonable timeframe.
- Refrigeration: Place the container with the picadillo in the refrigerator. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days. Ensure that the refrigerator temperature is set to 40°F (4°C) or below to maintain food safety.
- Freezing (Optional): If you want to store picadillo for a longer period, you can freeze it. Place the cooled picadillo in a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thawing and Reheating: When ready to eat, thaw frozen picadillo in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat it in a skillet or microwave until heated through. Add a splash of water or broth if needed to prevent it from drying out.
Picadillo Recipe Top tips
- Browning the meat: When browning the ground beef, make sure to break it up into small crumbles for even cooking. This will help to develop a rich flavor and texture.
- Drain excess fat: After browning the ground beef, drain any excess fat from the skillet. This step helps reduce the greasiness of the dish and makes it lighter.
- Sauté the aromatics: Sauté the onions, garlic, and jalapeno until they become fragrant and slightly softened. This step allows their flavors to develop and infuse into the picadillo.
- Season in layers: Add the spices, such as chili powder and cumin, at the appropriate stage of cooking to allow them to bloom and release their flavors. This technique enhances the overall taste of the dish.
- Adjust seasoning: Taste the picadillo as it cooks and adjust the seasoning according to your preferences. You can add more salt, pepper, or spices to achieve the desired flavor profile.
- Simmer for flavor melding: Once all the ingredients are combined, let the picadillo simmer over low heat for some time. This allows the flavors to meld together and intensify.
- Add acidity: Squeeze fresh lime juice into the picadillo towards the end of cooking or just before serving. The acidity brightens the flavors and balances the richness of the dish.
- Let it rest: If time permits, allow the picadillo to cool slightly and then let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This resting period allows the flavors to further develop and the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
- Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle chopped fresh cilantro or parsley on top of the picadillo just before serving. The herbs add a fresh and vibrant element to the dish.
- Customize and experiment: Picadillo is a versatile recipe, so feel free to add your own twist. You can incorporate additional vegetables, spices, or even some unique ingredients to make it your own. Don't be afraid to experiment and adapt the recipe to suit your taste preferences.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove