Last night, I made Beef Picadillo for dinner. It's a tasty Cuban dish, or anyway, it arrived in the U.S. via Cuban immigrants. Seems to be fairly widespread in the Spanish-speaking parts of South and Central America. Somewhere in the delicious region between a thick stew and hash depending on the receipe, it's got ground beef, tomatoes, olives and -- surprise! -- raisins, usually enhanced with hot and/or sweet peppers, spicy sausage, onion, garlic, allspice, cloves, cumin, chili powder, black pepper and so on, creating a very complex and wonderful flavor.
It is usually eaten over rice or used as a filling for tacos or empanadas. I was out of cloves, so I used a little touch of cinnamon to hint in that direction,* and the only raisins ready to hand were the nice golden ones from white grapes. Chorizo started off the wok, with red and cubanelle peppers and an onion following before the beef went in; once it was browned, I added tomatoes, olives -- and plenty of them! -- and a generous handful of raisins, to simmer while I pondered the ingredient list. I mean -- allspice? Cloves? Raisins? Really? But it simmered on, sending up the most fragrant puffs of steam.
With some trepidation, I tried a sample. So good! Once it was cooked, I zapped a little rice and had a bowl of picadillo. And a half a bowl more, too.
Tam was out of town (and having the kind of frustrating, low-key "adventure" nobody should have, I found out) and there was plenty left over; I set up a couple of small containers for freezing and put a third in the fridge. By the time she got home, she was frazzled and in no state for food, so there it sat.
Looking over breakfast options this morning, I had lots of eggs and not much else. But there was that little glass container of picadillo, and it needed eaten. So I whipped up a basic three-egg omelette, shaved a nice layer of Manchego cheese on it once it started to set and heated the picadillo in the microwave. Once it and the omelette were ready, I spooned in a goodly amount, folded the omelette and left it to finish.
Oh, boy! The picadillo was good last night, but as an omelette filling, it's close to ambrosial!
If it sounds interesting, give it a try. The leftovers are versatile.
* Not ideal but it works if you don't use too much. The real thing would have been better.
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