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Terrific recipe! After reading the comments, I decided to try both methods of browning the meat first and/or putting it in as is in order to contribute to the debate. This was easy since I was already dividing the batch because DH hates olives :) The meat that was cooked in the sauce had a better texture, and the flavor was also better (the sauce didn't reach all the way in to the browned meat). I used ground turkey, so even the one that I didn't brown and drain was not a bit greasy. I think this would work with any lean meat (12% fat or less). I will make this recipe again as directed, however I did add two tsp. of Mexican Oregano and one tsp. Smoked Spanish Paprika to the vegetables about one minute before they were done.
This dish had such a great combo of flavors and textures! I used this recipe as a foundation and made adjustments based upon a few of these reviews and some other research I did. Instead of 1/4 cup oil, I only used 2 tbsp of olive oil to sauté the peppers, onions and minced garlic until softened. I then browned the meat in that mixture and drained the fat. In lieu of tomato sauce, I added a can of diced tomatoes and a 6oz. can of tomato paste. In addition to the salt and pepper, I threw in 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried cilantro, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground cloves and 4 bay leaves. I served this with yellow rice and black beans using one of the recipes suggested in the reviews (http://www.food.com/recipe/gatorbeks-cuban-pork-black-beans-and-yellow-rice-281298). This meal was featured in my blog - http://danasfoodblog.com/?p=1248.
I really liked the way this turned out, but I was a bit surprised that it didn't call for any herbs or spices except salt and pepper. (I think I will try out a few more recipes before settling on this one. I think I was expecting cumin, at least, although I don't know what is traditional.) I had 3 lb of meat, so I made an attempt to multiply by 1 1/2, although I only had one green pepper. The meat was something that Walmart labeled carne picada. It was a bit different, but good. I was a little worried about my tomato sauce. I used an 8 oz can of tomato sauce, but my 15 oz can was government "spaghetti sauce." It didn't seem to have any actual seasoning in it, so it worked out ok. I also used dried chopped figs instead of raisins, because I have pounds and pounds of them and am trying to use them up. They pretty much disintegrated and left behind their sweetness, which was fine because my family often complains about fruit in dinner. The dish simmered for about 2 hours.
Great recipe - I make it monthly and it never fails to make everyone happy :-) <br/>I do par-cook the meat to render some of the fat off. We live in Miami ( the land of picadillo) and this is the best one I have eaten ... so definitely a winning recipe. I serve it with black beans and rice, with plantain chips to garnish/scoop it up ;-)
This was a new flavour for us, and we enjoyed it. I did add the cumin as others suggested, but did not have olives at hand.
I half cooked the meat first (so I could remove fat), then added it to the onions mixture so it would absorb the flavours.
Thanks for sharing. We'll add this to our repertoire.
I was looking for an interesting picadillo recipe and this one was very good! I don't EVER use cooking wine, so just added some Chardonnay. Also added some diced potatoes, because I saw that it many other recipes. The OF liked it, but then he eats everything I cook.
Yummy!!! Love the raisins, love the olives!! I did add 2 tsp of cumin as someone suggested. Otherwise followed the recipe as written. And I did brown the meat FIRST. Then made the remaining ingredients as directed. Added the meat before the wine, olives and raisins. Served with black beans and rice as well. Soooo good. I had intended to add diced potatoes but totally forgot! Didn't really need it with the rice. Made the black beans as directed in Gatorbek's Cuban Pork, Black Beans, and Yellow Rice. Thank you for sharing!
UUPDATE: I too have now made it both ways, the meat in the sauce and pre-cooked. I agree with SassyStew...the meat in the sauce absorbs the flavors better making this my preferred method. Everyone I make this dish for LOVE, LOVE, LOVES this meal!
I made half a recipe for the two of us and it was great. Wasn't sure if I would like the olives but both of us did, in fact may add more next time. Served with black beans and rice and rum cake for a great meal.
I really enjoyed this recipe. I made it pretty close to the directions with only a couple additions.
Used 97/3 ground beef, 1 lb (what I had on hand), I cooked it about halfway as directed. I had also seen a Cuban cook make this on Diner's DriveIns & Dives and that's how she cooked her meat, halfway.
I grated the garlic w/ a microplane grater as I didn't have a mortar and pestle. I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, paprika and a small bay leaf while it simmered.
The meat texture was great, sort of soft. I think this had to do with the partial cooking and how the acids of the vinegars, wine and tomato sauce worked on the beef. Did taste great the next day.
I halved most of the liquids because I only used 1 lb of beef but kept full recipe amounts of the bell pepper, olives and raisins. I also added an extra splash of red wine vinegar just for my tastes.
Only thing I may do differently is add some fresh chopped parsley, cilantro or scallions when serving.
Served with Goya Yellow Rice and warm flour tortillas. Will make plantains to go with it next time!
Don't think I'll be trying another version, this one did it for me!
My first time trying this recipe, I made it up about a day or so in advance in order to let the flavors meld together, like a stew. I went to heat it up the next evening and it was all gone. My husband had eaten the entire thing in about a 30 hour time span without my knowledge. I made it again two weeks later, also in advance. I got called out of town and again didn't get to have more than a tasting. My husband was in hog heaven!!!