I’ve always wanted to be a jet setter. Traveling the world in style, eating exotic foods in exotic places, mingling with the rich and famous. Doesn’t sound like such a bad life.

But really, I would settle for “traveling the world”. With or without the style. Give me a Motel Six or a hostel on a small street in a small town in Europe and I would be quite content. Give me a beautiful European man to keep me company in the aforesaid living situation. And I would be ecstatic. Sure, maybe we would only be able to communicate through sidelong glances and sweet caresses. But I would be up for the challenge. One should never underestimate the power of body language.
Alas, it doesn’t seem like any of this debauchery is in store for me in the near future. So I will have to settle for cooking my way around the world with Regional Recipes. Which, all things considered, is not such a bad compromise. I get the food minus the possibility of having my heart broken by a dashing Frenchman who claims to be a duke once removed and is actually a mere window washer. Not that I have anything against window washers, but my general life plan is either to marry into wealth or to marry someone with a college education. The two, of course, not being mutually exclusive.

Really, I crack myself up sometimes.

But seriously, I do love Regional Recipes as an alternative to traveling the globe.

Next stop on our whirlwind tour: Cuba. You may have heard of it – it’s a small country just south of Florida which I, being an American citizen, am forbidden to enter.

And while they may be able to prevent me from actually visiting Cuba, no one – not even the American government – can stop me from eating it’s food. Which is a good thing because it is one of my favorites. I actually just adore all Latin American cuisine. Something about the tropical flavors and the fresh, bright spices and seasonings.

Picadillo is a traditional dish made in many Latin American countries. Generally, it is made with ground beef and tomatoes, and can have a variety of other ingredients depending on which country you are in. Cubans, for example, tend to infuse theirs with green peppers, green olives, and raisins. And, of course, garlic. One should never forget about the garlic. I think what really drew me to this, though, was the cinnamon. I have this thing for meat recipes that call for cinnamon. It’s inexplicable.

But good rule of thumb – if you want me to like a dish, just throw in some cinnamon.
Serves 4, adapted from the Three Guys From Miami website

1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef (I used 90%)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp oregano
2 oz green olives
1/4 cup raisins

1. Saute the onion and green pepper for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and ground beef.

2. Mash the onion and bell pepper into the sauteing meat. Cook until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and spices. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add the olives and raisins and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I served this with quinoa. I originally intended to have plantains with it but, of course, the one day I want plantains is the day that Whole Foods AND my local supermarket decide not to stock them. Next week they will probably be on sale for 10 cents a plantain. But isn’t that how it always goes?

I am submitting this to Regional Recipes, which is being hosted by Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok.

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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42 Responses to Regional Recipes: Cuba – Picadillo

  1. Kim says:

    LOL – traveling the world with a European guy would be fun, but at least you are safe from heartbreak in your own kitchen ;D I have big dreams to travel the world, while I still young enough to enjoy it. Hopefully it happens one day. I love your piccadillo. I’ve never had one before, but it looks and sounds delicious. I can also sympathize with the need for plantains. It’s kinda like that frisee lettuce I needed and couldn’t find. Maybe Whole Foods is holding out on us this week?

  2. a fav dish of mine. i made ur carrot cupcakes a while back with a few mods and loved them. the secret ingredient in my picadillo is bay leaf.

  3. Marisa says:

    HELL yeah to cinnamon & garlic paired with meat dishes. What am I talking about? Garlic paired with most everything is a clear-cut winner in my book. I actually feel like I’m fighting vampires on a daily basis (which clearly seems to be working – I’ve not had any run-ins with those bloodsuckers).

    I can sympathise with the unfulfilled travel fantasies – regional recipes are my way of satisfying my (unfulfilled) travel fantasies as well. And, like you, I think it’s one of the more exciting (and for sure cheaper) ways of doing so.

    Kudos on a great post!

  4. Marisa says:

    Ooooooooh – and you included cumin too? You are my food-twin!

  5. Lea Ann says:

    Great post! Love your travel dreams. This looks really good and I’m going to give it a try one of these days. Don’t think I’ve had anything like it. Plus you gave me two new websites to take a look at. Thanks Joanne

  6. My son loves Picadillo, especially with black beans and rice. Yours looks delish!

  7. SE(Denufood) says:

    great post Joanne…and my best wishes for your travel dreams !!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Joanne! This is simply amazing! What a collection of awesome recipes 🙂 Glad I checked this out. I can’t wait to try some of them out! Thanks for having me Sunday night. Sorry I was a total stress ball. haha 🙂

  9. Palidor says:

    LOL, you’re funny. I think I’d take your picadillo over a foreign man. It looks really tasty and I love your presentation.

  10. Mari says:

    I love Cuban Food so I know I would love this dish! OH I want to be a jet setter too and meet some yummy men with delicious accents lol

  11. Elra says:

    Oh my, Cuban food, I love it Joanne. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  12. Shannon says:

    jet-setting would be fun 🙂 but i don’t see it in my future either… MMm, cuban 🙂

  13. Debbie says:

    That looks absolutely delicious. I think I would like it with rice. The spices just sound terrific!

  14. Although I’ve never made it at home I love Cuban food. This looks like a great recipe to try. Thanks

  15. Nat says:

    Looks awesome Joanne…you are talented weh it comes to cooking but also with your words ! So witty ! : )

  16. wow, what a well written piece. You have a great blog

    And the recipe is spot on, love the garlic and cinnamon

  17. Megan says:

    Dashing and handsome European? Or a delicious dinner? Hmm – I’ll get back to you on that.

  18. I was just confessing to my parents that I put cinnamon in their chili. I just love it. And this! It’s so warming, hearty, and comforting.

  19. Kerstin says:

    I love all the spices (especially the cinnamon!) you used! Tasting it would take me straight to Cuba 🙂

  20. Debinhawaii says:

    I just tried my first picadillo when I reviewed a cookbook a few weeks bag and loved it. This one looks slightly different and very delicious. Great job!

  21. Sophie says:

    A georgous & oh so tasty looking dish!! I will make this this evening! Yummie!

  22. Donna-FFW says:

    Yes, my darling Joanne. Marry into wealth, have everything in your name always or at least both names, and your own bank account on the side;)

    Dish looks absolutely fantastic, one I want to conqueor!

  23. Barbara says:

    Love Cuban food. And your adaptation is great.
    My daughter has been to Cuba- believe me it’s not all sun and roses. In fact, no roses at all.
    Desperation is what it is. She said it was so sad.

    Why does everyone think European men are more dashing or more handsome or more romantic. It ain’t true!

  24. Muneeba says:

    I make a version of this almost once a week to go with rice or roti … it’s a real staple in our home … never gets old! Yours looks SO YUMMMM.

  25. teresa says:

    this is so fun, i love this dish, what a great pairing of flavors.

  26. It seems so bizarre to us that Americans still can’t visit Cuba.
    I can adopt you, give you Canadian status and then you can go. 🙂
    My daughter went last year and loved it.

    Nice to travel through your kitchen though, you meal looks lovely.

  27. Velva says:

    I grew up in South Florida and enjoyed many Cuban meals. Picadillo was a standard family meal. I love it!!

    Thisi was a great blog post. I smiled, then laughed.

  28. girlichef says:

    I am soooo the same way 🙂 And you crack me up, too! Looks delish.

  29. Kathleen says:

    Love your humor and good luck with your plan!! I’ve never had picadillo so I’m happy to have this introduction. I also feel that eating and serving different regional foods is a mini vacation!

  30. Katy ~ says:

    This sounds so full of warm and happy flavors! YUM YUM

    Actually at my late years, I’m happy to have a guy who has teeth and can read without moving his lips…

  31. Michelle says:

    LOL…you are too funny! I set my sights on a “washer, dryer and a dental plan” and I’ve got a pretty good husband too!!

  32. Growing up in South Florida, Picadillo has been a standard dinner dish since I was little. I haven’t had it in a while and now after reading your post, I think I might have to have a Cuban night soon! Thanks!

  33. gaga says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had cuban food. It looks delicious!

  34. Indrani says:

    Super delicious recipe, Joanne..first time in your blog..very interesting recipes..thanks for leaving comments on my blog..will visit you often

  35. Sophia says:

    “I get the food minus the possibility of having my heart broken by a dashing Frenchman who claims to be a duke once removed and is actually a mere window washer. Not that I have anything against window washers, but my general life plan is either to marry into wealth or to marry someone with a college education. The two, of course, not being mutually exclusive.”

    HAHAHA! I just totally love you, Joanne! And yup, just throw in tons of cinnamon and everything will better! 😉

  36. Oh it would be so nice to be a world traveler! Great looking dish! 😀

    I crack myself up too!

  37. dp says:

    I’m partial to European men myself. Okay, actually one in particular. I also recommend marrying into wealth. My hubby recommends this as well. Haha!

    Thanks for the inspiration. I still have about 20 lbs of ground beef in my freezer from the half beef I ordered. I think the family is tired of meatloaf and meatballs.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I can tell you are young. Wait a few years and you’ll trade your guy with a college education for a guy who can wash windows in a heartbeat! Oh, and my window washer has a college education and earns 10 times more than the phd now working at the fast food restaurant because there are no jobs!

  39. edg15fdd says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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