Tacos with Picadillo: Test Kitchen Tuesday

In honor of so many celebrating Cinco de Mayo, I decided to look through my cookbook, The World’s Finest Food for inspiration for Test Kitchen Tuesday this week.  Tacos with Picadillo looked interesting and simple to make—a new twist on an old standby, for sure.  According to on-line sources, picadillo is a traditional Latin American dish, which varies by region. Some recipes include potatoes or carrots, while others favor canned tomatoes or paste. The following recipe from The World’s Finest Food is a fair representation of the dish served as a main course, or as a filling for tacos, empanadas, large chilies, or bell peppers.  I hope you join me in this delicious adventure!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make one of the recipes (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you do focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients or techniques, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have done.
4.  If you are feeling especially proud of your creation, snap a photo and send it to me at savoringtoday@comcast.net so it can be included.

Tacos with Picadillo

Want to hear how to pronounce it? Picadillo
Source:  The World’s Finest Food 1994 p. 74
Serves 4
3        tablespoons  oil or lard
1         pound  ground beef
3/4    cup  onion — diced fine
2        tablespoons  dry sherry
1         tablespoon  lime juice
3        whole  plum tomatoes — skinned and chopped
2        whole  poblano pepper — finely chopped
1/3     cup  pimento stuffed olives — sliced
1         teaspoon  capers
1         whole  bay leaf
1/4     cup  raisins
2         cloves  garlic
1/2     teaspoon  cinnamon
1/2     teaspoon  cumin
salt and pepper
12     taco shells

Garnishes: (optional)
cheddar cheese — shredded
black olives — sliced
green onion — chopped
tomato — chopped
lettuce — shredded

In a skillet over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons oil, beef, and onions, and cook over med-high heat until evenly browned. Lower heat, and add the sherry and lime juice. Cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, chilies, olives, capers, bay leaf, and raisins; simmer for another 20 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a small pan, add the garlic, cumin, and cinnamon, and toast for 3-4 minutes, then add to the meat with the pepper and salt. Simmer 5-10 minutes. Check the seasoning to adjust as needed.  Serve with warmed taco shells and suggested garnishes.


5 responses to “Tacos with Picadillo: Test Kitchen Tuesday

  1. Carmen Thigpen

    This recipe sounds yummy. I think I’ll try it. We made homemade salsa last night. Mmmm!

  2. I never tried using picadillo for a taco filling, we have picadillo in Philippines and yes its one of those variants with potatoes, carrots and raisins and I remember I have a post for it as well.

  3. Here’s what was said around the dinner table:
    I like it, but it doesn’t taste like Mexican food.” –daughter
    The cinnamon makes it taste like having dessert with dinner. I keep expecting it to taste like a taco, but it doesn’t.“–hubby
    I like it, but I don’t taste the tomatoes much, only the cinnamon.” –other daughter
    Well, I agree with all these statements. I did deviate from the recipe to include potatoes since I needed to make it stretch a little and many picadillo recipes include potatoes; I concluded that would be fine.

    Here are the adjustments I made:

    1. used canned whole plum tomatoes, chopped (fresh tomatoes not at peak season)
    2. used currants instead of raisins
    3. added 1 1 /2 cups diced potatoes
    4. increased cumin to 1 tsp
    5. added 1 tsp chili powder
    6. garnished with avocado and cilantro

    1. cover with lid when simmering for 20 minutes to cook the potatoes

    Suggestions to improve this dish:
    1. Use soft tortillas instead of hard shell tacos, Homemade Corn Tortillas would be wonderful.
    2. Poblano peppers are not spicy, this dish could use a jalapeno or Habanero-Cilantro Taco Sauce to give it some oomph (spice).
    3. Reduce the cinnamon to 1/4 tsp.

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