This recipe comes from the Eat Voraciously e-newsletter. Enroll right here to get one weeknight dinner recipe, suggestions for substitutions, strategies and extra in your inbox Monday by Thursday.

You’re invited

When: Tonight (and tomorrow, and the day after, too)

The place: Your desk, and mine

What: Dinner

Hello there, welcome. I’m glad you’re right here. I want I may welcome you to my precise desk. On this dream state of affairs it could be made from sturdy wooden, massive and spherical, surrounded by comfy chairs. I’d gentle just a few candles, tall tapers or tiny tealights, and scatter flowers among the many plates and glasses. I’d play Miles Davis and Sade and Elvis Costello and Rose Royce. There can be a pitcher of water, and possibly bottles of wine. And within the heart, prepared for passing, can be the star of the present: dinner.

I grew up in a household that regarded ahead to dinner as a lot as a child may sit up for a visit to Disneyland: We’d begin discussing it at breakfast, mulling over the choices based mostly on what was within the cabinet and freezer, and thru bites of cereal or French toast we’d land on one thing easy, like boxed macaroni and cheese or rice and beans. If considered one of my dad and mom had the day without work from work, it may be one thing particular, like bistec encebollado (Puerto Rican-style vinegar steak with onions) or my mother’s khoresht bademjan (Persian eggplant and rooster stew).

As a result of my dad and mom each labored full-time and had uneven schedules, I discovered to prepare dinner as quickly as I may push a chair as much as the counter.

One in every of my favourite issues to make for dinner was — and nonetheless is — picadillo, floor meat sauteed and simmered in a deep purple tomato-based sauce, well-seasoned and savory with onions, garlic, cumin and olives.

It’s standard all through Latin America, and generally is a meal in and of itself, nevertheless it’s additionally a part in additional elaborate dishes, together with tacos, empanadas, pastelón, chiles en nogada and alcapurrias. The recipe can change from area to area and prepare dinner to prepare dinner, and each household places their very own spin on it, including olives, raisins, potatoes, plantains or squash, relying on whether or not they prefer it sweeter or extra savory, easy or hearty.

One in every of my pals, Adriana Velez, provides contemporary or dried fruit and a contact of cinnamon and stuffs it into chiles. Journey author Jessica van Dop DeJesus makes hers richer and extra savory through the use of floor pork as a substitute of beef. At Mix 111 in Vienna, Va., chef Andrés-Julian Zuluaga has a vegan model on the takeout menu, made with roasted and minced maitake mushrooms as a substitute of floor meat.

I put each raisins and olives in my picadillo — I just like the little candy and salty dance they do in your mouth — however you can omit one or each. The recipe here’s a streamlined beef picadillo based mostly on the one I grew up consuming. It doesn’t require a sofrito, as some picadillos do, however if in case you have some or need to make it, do: Your picadillo will probably be even higher.

I like picadillo served over rice, which soaks up the juices from the rapidly simmered stew, nevertheless it will also be served over pasta or with any starch or vegetable. Make it a one-pot meal by including just a few handfuls of shredded spinach or kale and letting them soften into the sauce or tossing in bite-sized items of roasted potatoes or squash.

Storage Notes: Retailer leftovers in a coated container within the fridge for as much as 3 days.

NOTE: You might exchange the onion, bell pepper, garlic and cilantro with 3/4 cup ready or home made sofrito, about one-fourth of this recipe.

This recipe comes from the Eat Voraciously e-newsletter. Enroll right here to get one weeknight dinner recipe, suggestions for substitutions, strategies and extra in your inbox Monday by Thursday.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (4 to five ounces), finely chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, any colour, finely chopped (optionally available)
  • 5 stems contemporary cilantro and their leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated (see NOTE)
  • 1 pound lean floor beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon effective sea salt or desk salt, plus extra as wanted
  • 1 teaspoon floor cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (any type)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon floor black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes, ideally with no salt added
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup darkish or golden raisins (optionally available)
  • 1/4 cup pimento-stuffed inexperienced olives, halved (optionally available)
  • Steamed rice for serving (optionally available)

In a large skillet over excessive warmth, warmth the oil till it shimmers. Add the onion and bell pepper, if utilizing, and prepare dinner, stirring typically, simply till they start to brown, about 3 minutes. Decrease the warmth to medium and add many of the cilantro — reserving just a few leaves for garnish — garlic and floor beef. Utilizing a picket spoon or spatula, break the bottom beef into bits in order that it cooks evenly. Stir within the salt, cumin, paprika, oregano and black pepper.

Cook dinner the meat till its fats has rendered and it’s brown with just a few pink spots, 5 to eight minutes. (Drain extra fats, if desired.) Stir within the tomatoes and tomato paste. Carry to a simmer and prepare dinner over medium warmth for an additional 5 minutes, utilizing a spoon or spatula to interrupt up any massive chunks of tomato. (If the combination begins to look dry, add a splash or two of water to loosen it.)

Stir within the raisins and olives, if utilizing, and simmer till they’ve softened, 3 or 4 minutes. Style and regulate seasonings, maintaining in thoughts that the raisins add a little bit sweetness and the olives add salinity and a contact of acidity. Garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves and serve the picadillo scorching, with cooked rice.

Diet Info

(Primarily based on 6 servings, excluding rice)

Energy: 249; Protein: 15g; Carbohydrates: 8g; Fats: 20g; Saturated Fats: 6g; Ldl cholesterol: 54mg; Sodium: 259mg; Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 4g.

This recipe comes from the Eat Voraciously e-newsletter. Enroll right here to get one weeknight dinner recipe, suggestions for substitutions, strategies and extra in your inbox Monday by Thursday.

Recipe from employees author G. Daniela Galarza.

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