This recipe is a Cuban classic and a family favorite of mine. It has been passed on from mother to daughter for generations. The seasoning mixture known as “sofrito,” a combination of onion, green pepper, and spices, serves as the foundation for many Cuban dishes and provides a symphony of flavors without too much spice. This is a great meal to serve guests, since it offers something new but delicious.
- 1 green pepper
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
- 3.5 - 4 pounds ground beef (I prefer 85% - 90% lean)
- Olives (optional)
- Cut open the green pepper and remove the seed pod. Chop into large chunks. Peel the onion and chop into large chunks. Place both in a food processor and blend until minced.
- Place the ground beef in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until browned. (Note: If using beef with a higher percentage of fat, such as 85% lean or lower, you may wish to remove some of the excess fat.)
- Add garlic and stir until it is golden and sizzling, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the minced green pepper and onion mixture, followed by the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf.
- Pour in the tomato sauce (and olives, if desired).
- Cook on low, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over white rice.
Note: You can use this exact same recipe to make another Cuban dish called ropa vieja. Simply swap out the ground beef for skirt steak!
Note: You can use leftover picadillo to make a delicious bolognese sauce, simply by reheating it in a saucepan and adding more tomato sauce. Leftover picadillo also goes great in tacos!