Wednesday, April 3, 2013

pica dillo

This is great! I first saw it on Diner's, Drive-Ins and Dives at a Cuban restaurant in Florida. So, I looked it up on the internet and found out that this is one of the best, most authentic versions of Cuban food that you can make. The flavors are essentially Cuban and super delicious.
A quick word about peppers. This was actually a green pepper when I bought it, and it turned on me. Fine by me, I said. But, I want to let you guys know about how to choose a pepper for cooking. This above is a female pepper- it has 4 nubs on the bottom. The peppers with three nubs on the bottom are males. The males are more bitey and bitter while the females are sweeter but are full of seeds. I always choose female peppers because I usually end up eating the peppers before I cook them. But, as a rule, male peppers are better cook with. Less seeds, you know?
I cut my peppers and onions into big chunks because my pica dillo makes it's way into tortillas at the end. Cook them for just a few minutes, until onions are translucent.
Look at this contraption. Pampered Chef that is. I call it my meat twirler. It breaks up the ground meat into the tiniest chunks you can imagine. It's great. If you don't have one of these, you should get one. Or, you can use a wooden spoon.
Look at those nice little pieces. Perfect. Some recipes call for them to be almost mush, but I just ground this fine.
Tomato paste, olives and raisins later, this is what this looks like. At this point, you can serve it over rice or stuff it into empanadas. I chose to serve mine like a Mexican sloppy joes- in a tortilla.
Pica Dillo
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb 90/10 ground beef
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 8 oz. can tomato paste
20- 30 olives with pimentos
1/4 cup olive juice
20-30 raisins
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 beef bullion dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
2 dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin

In a medium saute pan, cook onions and peppers in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent and peppers are soft. Add ground beef and break apart into fine pieces. When ground beef is completely cooked through and no longer pink, add the remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Serve over rice or inside empanadas or tortillas. Enjoy!