Picadillo

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Inspiration from Chefjar.

You know, chili has this sort of exalted place in cuisine, yet — and quite possibly, from over-consumption — it doesn’t really seem that deserving.  There are some that have been devoured favorably, one down the street and one back in Grosse Pointe that are mostly a tomato-ey gravy with ground beef; beans optional.  Just a little spice and they go down quite nicely, but heavy salt and loads of fat bring regrets of gastronomical distress an hour or so later — worse so when it’s on a hot dog with some mustard and raw onions.

Variations and attempts at a healthier and less, afterwards-offensive variety really haven’t been that great:  Add some cheese, a little sour cream and a couple of dashes of hot sauce and it becomes a plausible meal.  It’s fallen into the mole negro realm, of fond memories far outstrapping the actual result.  None of either quite guild with expectations.  The last batch of mole languishes in the freezer with little motivation for use, nor further attempts.  Don Carlos:  What did you do?

It was probably from a jar…

The various permutations of the stew toward a less calorically and constitutionally less offensive standard, never close to rivaled the sapor of the Coney/Nickel/Viks, despite rave herald to curious contributions and ever greater numerical additions:  Some count the dozens of spices and herbs, this and the other — they all render out largely the same, some more spicy, some tame, from viscous to runny.

The most favored are those with the tomato base, with some texture — but nothing too large.  A few whole beans in the mix are just fine, but not appreciated in quantity.  Large chunks of vegetables, likewise, are not enjoyed.  Especially such things as crucifers and pickles.  None are ever disliked, but neither do they inspire.

This Picadillo is a southwestern sort of stew that is not even a chili — does not even have chili.  But this is as close to such a thing in a while that might be worth remembering:  The largest chunks in the thing were corn — not even called for.  Why was corn added?  Oh, yes:  We were out of peas…  Some apparently have chili:

Red pepper is a great condiment for Picadillo. Cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder and the combination of all three work wonderfully. Cumin, cinnamon, bay leaves, fresh or dried oregano and cloves all contribute to the aroma of the dish. You may like  to add a tablespoon of white or brown sugar to sweeten the dish and balance the mixture of savory and spicy flavors. Tabasco sauce is not an unusual addition and neither is ground black pepper. If you’d like to up the burn factor, why not add in a finely chopped chili or two?

This turned out saucier than likely preferable; the addition of potatoes might have improved it even more:

Fried, cubed potatoes can be added to the list of ingredients to add body to your Picadillo.

Also, green olives over the black sounds delightful for this dish:  Ground beef was replaced with 8oz of minced mushrooms, 2/3 of a slab of crumbled tempeh and a fistful of tvp.  Also, we forgot to add the beans, which was the whole impetus for this in the first place…

INGREDIENTS
  • Lean ground beef- 1 kg or 2.5 lb
  • Crushed tomatoes with juice- 1 can ( 470 gm
  • Red kidney beans/ Black beans- 1 can ( 400 gm/ drained 260 gm)
  • Jalapeno chili( seeded & minced) -1
  • Garlic cloves( minced)- 2
  • Mexican meat spice mix- 3 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds- 1 tbsp
  • Red chili flakes- ½ tsp
  • Salt- To Taste
  • Lime juice- 2 tbsp
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)-1/4 cup
  • Pitted and sliced black olives- ¼ cup
  • Green frozen peas- 1 cup
  • Olive oil- 6-7 tbsp
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a small pan. Put the minced garlic cloves & Jalapeno chili, fry until slightly brown. Add cumin seeds and continue frying another 20-30 seconds.
  2. Spray the insert of your slow-cooker with coking spray. Add olive oil, ground beef, crushed tomatoes, red kidney beans/black beans, Mexican spice mix, red chili flakes, lime juice & salt.
  3. Set “high”, cover and cook 5 hours.
  4. Uncover the slow-cooker, add olives and peas. Adjust the seasonings with salt. Set ” low” & cook another 20 minutes.
  5. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
  6. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.
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