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June 26, 2009

DSC03617Happy entertaining from Elizabeth W. Gift Baskets!

I use this picadillo as a filling for baked empanaditas (mini empanadas) to serve with cocktails. Simply cut rounds of pastry dough with a biscuit cutter, place a tablespoon of Picadillo on one side, fold in half, and crimp with a fork to seal. Prick the top and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. I like to keep a batch of unbaked empanadas in the freezer so I have a tasty appetizer ready to pop into the oven when unexpected guests drop by.


My version of this Cuban classic, which is adapted from an old Food & Wine recipe, combines ground beef with raisins and olives in a thick, highly seasoned sauce. Picadillo is extremely versatile. Use it to stuff tacos or burritos, serve it on warm corn muffins, spoon it over pasta, stuff baked potatoes with it, or use it as a hearty dip with tortilla chips.


1¼ pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ cup beer

One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (1-1/3 cups)

¼ cup tomato paste

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1¼ teaspoons ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon hot sauce (or more, to taste)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup raisins

¼ cup each green olives and black olives, pitted and quartered


  1. In a large frying pan, cook the ground beef, breaking it up with a fork, until it is no longer pink. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the beer, tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, and hot sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the raisins and olives to the meat mixture and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the mixture is very thick and only slightly saucy.