My love for cooking came from my parents. They knew their way around the kitchen, and Mom loved to entertain. Our home was always filled with people – extended family, neighbors, friends. Ours was the house with the door open to everyone and plenty of good food to share. Many of the recipes I like to share come from those warm memories.
Growing up, my mother made a dish she called “Picadillo”. Mom often made up recipes and gave them strange-sounding names. I grew up thinking “Picadillo” was one such dish. Mom was a great story-teller with a language all her own, so nothing that came from her creative mind surprised me.
All I knew was that I liked Picadillo. Just how “Filipino” Mom’s Picadillo is, I really cannot say. Many of her “native” dishes had my father’s American spin on them. Often, Mom would describe something to Dad and together they would create a close proximity to what Mom remembered. They made a great team in the kitchen.
Mom served her Picadillo with rice. (Which she always burnt – calling the burnt rice “tutong”. In particular, tutong refers to the layer of crunchy burnt rice found at the bottom of the pot after cooking).
I serve mine with warm tortillas, making a burrito of sorts out of the filling. Picadillo mixed with rice would also make a great filling for bell peppers. I’ve even served the Picadillo wrapped inside lettuce leaves for an interesting “lettuce wrap”.
How you serve it is up to you – get creative and have some fun!
Picadillo – Filipino-American Style
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 ½ Lbs Lean Ground Beef
2 Cups Potatoes, peeled and diced small (about 2 potatoes)
½ Cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
½ Cup Onion, Chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/3 Cup Red Wine
2-3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (Optional)
Flour Tortillas (Optional)
Serving Options – Rice
2 Cups Cooked Rice
Chop bell pepper, onion and garlic according to recipe. Set aside until ready to use.
Peel and dice potatoes into small pieces. Place in a bowl with enough cold water to cover potatoes until ready to use.
In a large skillet, heat oil. Add ground beef, breaking up into small pieces as it browns. Remove meat from skillet, drain, reserving 1-2 tablespoons of grease. Set meat aside.
Drain potatoes. Add grease to pan, return to medium heat and cook potatoes, stirring often, until browned and just beginning to soften all the way through, about 10 minutes.
Add bell peppers, onions and garlic. Sauté until garlic is soft and vegetables are tender-crisp, about 5-6 minutes. Return meat to skillet. Season with salt and pepper.
Add wine, cover and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed, about 3-4 minutes.
Picadillo can be wrapped in warm tortillas and served with a simple green salad. Or served over steamed rice. Place steamed rice on a large serving platter. Top with Picadillo and serve.