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4.11.2013

Cuban-Style Picadillo

Is it a problem that I could eat, like, 100 bowls of this?


Good Lord!  If you answered yes, then clearly you haven't experienced this flavorful and complex Cuban dish, and clearly we were not meant to be best friends.  I don't know if I can deal with that, so listen.

My most recent edition of Cooks Illustrated magazine detailed this amazing Cuban-Style Picadillo, and I had to make it.  Like immediately.  I don't know of many meals more delicious than ground beef simmered with other lovely things like tomatoes, olives, raisins, WINE, and spices, and then served over rice and black beans, so I spoke to my food soul and my food soul said do it, do it now.

But the thing about Cooks Illustrated is that their recipes tend to be a little on the long and drawn out and over-the-top side.  The magazine focuses quite a bit on honing cooking technique, understanding the chemistry of cooking and baking, and making authentic and classic versions of age-old recipes.

When all I really want is a mid-week dinner idea that I can slap together in 30-40 minutes.

Should I apologize for not having the patience during the week to focus on proper technique and not taking any short cuts?  Naah.  So I've made a few changes here that brought this down to my unprofessional, low-patience, likely-to-be-checking-email-and playing-Candy-Crush-Saga-while-I'm-cooking level.  Don't let the ingredients list intimidate you, either.  It's very manageable!

This recipe is hearty, healthy, and over-the-top delicious without the over-the-top work.  You will lose your mind over it and want to eat 100 bowls, and if you do, I will be your biggest supporter.  Those with chubby food souls have to stick together!



Cuban-Style Picadillo
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 lb ground sirloin (I used 90% fat free)
1 tbs water
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbs canola oil
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
Salt/pepper
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
3/4 c dry white wine
1/2 c low-sodium, fat-free beef broth
1/3 c raisins
2 bay leaves
1/2 c pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped coarse
1 tbs capers, rinsed and drained
1 c cooked brown rice
14.5 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

Preparation:
In a large bowl, combine the beef, water, and baking soda until thoroughly combined.  Set aside for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the green and red pepper, onion, salt/pepper, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon, and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 6-8 minutes.  Stir often.  Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add the tomatoes in their juices and wine, and cook, stirring up the browned bits, until the pot is almost dry, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in the beef broth, raisins, and bay leaves, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, add the meat mixture in 2-inch chunks to the pot, and bring to a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally to break the meat into 1/2-inch chunks, until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Discard the bay leaves, and stir in the olives and capers.  Increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and coats the meat, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt/pepper to taste.

Serve over hot cooked rice and black beans.



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