Authentic Mexican Picadillo Recipe
Picadillo is a traditional Mexican dish loved for its savory-sweet flavors and versatility. It’s a flavorful blend of ground beef, vegetables, and seasonings, often served with rice or as a filling for tacos, empanadas, or stuffed peppers. This authentic Mexican Picadillo recipe will transport your taste buds straight to Mexico.
For the Picadillo:
- 1 pound ground beef (preferably lean)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and sliced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
- Cooked white rice
- Warm tortillas or taco shells
- Sliced jalapeños (optional, for extra heat)
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the chopped onions and sauté until they become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional minute until fragrant.
- Stir in the ground beef and cook until it browns and crumbles. Make sure to break it up into small pieces as it cooks.
- Once the beef is browned, add the diced tomatoes and green bell pepper to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to soften.
- Add the raisins, green olives, ground cumin, ground cinnamon, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper to the mixture. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let the Picadillo simmer for 15-20 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and the raisins to plump up.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If you prefer it spicier, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
- Once the Picadillo is ready, garnish it with chopped fresh cilantro.
- Serve the Picadillo hot over a bed of cooked white rice.
- Alternatively, use it as a filling for warm tortillas or taco shells. You can also serve it with a side of refried beans or a simple salad.
- For extra heat, offer sliced jalapeños as a condiment.
- Add diced potatoes along with the tomatoes and bell pepper for a heartier version of Picadillo.
- Experiment with other ingredients like capers, chopped almonds, or even a touch of cocoa powder for unique flavor profiles.
- Use ground turkey or a meat substitute for a leaner alternative.
Authentic Mexican Picadillo is a fantastic dish to prepare for a family dinner or a gathering with friends. Its sweet and savory flavors, combined with the rich aroma of spices, make it a true Mexican comfort food classic. Enjoy the culinary journey!
Tips for Making Authentic Mexican Picadillo:
- Meat Selection: Lean ground beef is the traditional choice for Picadillo, but you can use ground turkey or a mixture of pork and beef for added flavor.
- Spice It Up: Adjust the spiciness to your liking. If you prefer a milder Picadillo, reduce the amount of ground cumin or omit the jalapeños.
- Consistency: The Picadillo should have a slightly saucy consistency, so it’s perfect for spooning over rice or filling tacos. If it becomes too dry while simmering, you can add a splash of beef or vegetable broth to keep it moist.
- Raisin Variation: Some recipes call for prunes instead of raisins for a slightly different sweetness. Feel free to experiment with dried fruits to suit your taste.
- Make It Ahead: Picadillo actually tastes better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld. Prepare it in advance for a quick and delicious meal.
- Accompaniments: Picadillo is often served with traditional Mexican sides like refried beans, guacamole, or a simple cabbage slaw. These sides balance the richness of the dish.
- Taco Night: If you’re using Picadillo as a taco filling, consider offering various toppings like shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped onions, sour cream, and grated cheese for a customized taco experience.
- Storage: Leftover Picadillo can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. It also freezes well; just make sure it’s cooled before freezing.
- Reheating: To reheat Picadillo, gently warm it on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally. You can also use the microwave, but be sure to cover it to prevent splattering.
Picadillo is a versatile dish that allows for personalization. Don’t hesitate to get creative with it. Some cooks add a splash of red wine or a touch of vinegar to enhance the flavors. The key is to balance the sweet and savory elements to your liking. Enjoy your culinary adventure with this classic Mexican favorite!