Growing up, my family had a custom of eating together at the table around 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. It was a special time for all of us to catch up before being pulled away again by things outside the home. There was a time my parents had all four girls in band, choir, sports, and church youth group activities at the same time. If one of us was absent, usually, my mother would send a plate of what ever she made that day. I remember eating a plate of her Picadillo with my sister, Noemi, in our van. My sister had band practice and I joined her so she wouldn’t eat alone. The “plates” were the best and I looked forward to them when we were on a tight schedule.
In February, my dad came to visit us on one of his truck routes from Texas and he was feeling a bit tired from the road. He asked me if I would make Picadillo. It had been a very long time since I cooked this dish, but I was happy to oblige. After dinner, my father gave me the biggest hug. He said it was ‘just like momma’s’. That warmed my heart.
What is Picadillo? Picadillo is a spanish word for “to chop” or “to mince”. It is the manner in which this traditional dish is prepared. This dish is common in Spain and in many Latin American countries. Picadillo consist of ground beef and vegetables: tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, corn, sweet peas or green beans; what ever you prefer. It is served with rice and/or beans and it can be used as a filling; especially for Tacos, Gorditas, Empanadas or other savory pastries. The Picadillo I grew up with has a Tex-Mex flare, so this might be a bit different than any you’ve had before.
My Momma’s Picadillo
- 1 lb. ground beef
- tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large potato, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup sweet peas
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Knorr Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor cube
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and cook until slightly translucent. Add the meat to brown and season with salt and pepper. Once meat is browned, add tomatoes and garlic and give it a stir. Cover with lid and cook for about 5 minutes. This will allow for all the ingredients and seasoning to incorporate well with the meat.
Stir in 2 cups of water and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, and add another 2 cups of water. Once water begins to simmer, add the bouillon. Stir until bouillon is incorporated well throughout the water. Cover again and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add potatoes, corn, sweet peas, and carrots. Lower heat level and simmer for another 10 minutes. Do a taste check and adjust accordingly to your liking.
My secret to this is, I add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin at the end and simmer for another 5 minutes on low heat. Check to see if potatoes are tender. If they are, set aside off heat.
I serve my Picadillo in a bowl with home-made corn tortillas and a side of whole pinto beans. Oh, don’t forget the salsa! I hope you get to enjoy making this recipe. I’m here if you have any questions!