Sort of Picadillo, springs to mind. When I say sort of that’s because of lots of variations on a theme for this recipe. This is also a dryish version compared to a soupier dish from Cuba. What I have gone for are the green Manzanilla pimiento stuffed olives. The one glaring ingredient I’ve left out are raisins, as I prefer those in rich, dark cakes (which might surprise some of you as I adore Christmas cake). Besides, there are quite a lot of flavours going on here, and I didn’t think this needed fruit at all.
I’d never heard of this dish before, and it wasn’t until I noticed a photo on Flickr by one of my favourite food photographers that I decided to make a note of the name of the dish. If you have the time I definitely recommend popping into Alena’s blog as it’s breathtakingly beautiful (it’s in English and Russian). I did check other sites for their variations, but came back to cooking this the way I’ve cooked my previous post, Fragrant beef stew. Apart from using less spices the method of cooking is very similar, including pan-frying shallots in bacon fat – sinfully delicious! Hmm, I do seem to be on a strange weekend theme of using beef as a main ingredient, especially as I hardly ever eat red meat. Anyway, the one site I’m going to link to is a fantastic Picadillo recipe by Gloria Estefan, as I’m going with her Mother’s way of serving this with a fried egg. I’ve read several posts recently about steak and fried egg so I had to try this combination out – just great!
Picadillo, with stuffed green Manzanilla olives and shallots
- olive oil and bacon fat for the shallots
- 250g (8.81 oz) x ground/minced beef
- 2 x dried bay leaves, ripped
- 1 x celery stalk, washed, trimmed and cut into small dice – optional
- 2 x garlic cloves, peeled, trimmed and chopped
- 250g (8.81 oz) x small, round shallots, peeled and trimmed
- 2 x salad tomatoes, washed and cut in half
- 1 x green pepper/capsicum, washed, top sliced off, seeds and membrane removed and discarded. Cut pepper into rough dice, including the top, making sure to remove and discard the stem
- 1 x heaped tablespoon tomato purée
- 1 x 400g or 240g drained weight (14.10 or 8.46 oz drained)can peeled plum (Roma) tomatoes, tomatoes only (use juice for something else). Remove and discard any black or green bits and any skin off the tomatoes, then mash them with a fork
- 1/4 x teaspoon cayenne + extra pinch (allow to cook/infuse before tasting and adding more)
- 1/4 x teaspoon paprika + extra pinch (allow to cook/infuse before tasting and adding more)
- 1 x tablespoon dried oregano + extra pinch just before serving
- about 6 x green Manzanilla olives stuffed with pimiento per person
- 1/2 x organic beef stock cube
- 100ml (0.211 US pt lqd) x water
- 1 x fried egg per person – optional
- white rice to serve
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6). When hot enough pour in a little oil. Add the minced/ground beef and allow to settle. I’m finding that with any form of mince/meat here that I have to wait for the meat to ooze out a lot of gunk. That I remove by carefully tilting the pan and mop out with kitchen paper. Then, I have to add a little more oil before the meat will brown. Get the mince as evenly brown/golden as possible. And don’t worry if the mince catches a little, or scorches slightly as it’s all flavour that the stock will grab. When the mince is nicely golden add the diced celery and bay leaves and continue to cook for at least 10 minutes. Reduce heat to No 1, push mince and celery to the sides, add a glug more oil if necessary and add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes before pushing to the sides and adding the tomato purée. Allow at least 5 minutes for the rawness of the purée to cook out. Add the lesser amounts of both cayenne and paprika and allow only seconds for those to infuse before adding the mashed canned tomatoes and olives (salt shouldn’t be added at any stage of cooking as the olives can be salty). This is when the fresh caramelised tomatoes should be rubbed through a fine wire metal sieve into this mixture. Sprinkle over the dried oregano and after that pour in the water and half a stock cube. Up the heat to No 4, cover with lid and bring to boiling point. Reduce heat to No 1 or 2 and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring through occasionally (especially to make certain that the stock cube has fully dissolved). If there’s too much liquid take the lid off for the last 10 minutes or so. If that’s the case do check on the sauce as it might catch on base of pan.
- Add the tomatoes to a separate pan with a little oil and a lid. Put on heat No 2 for most of their cooking time. Remove the lid after about 15 minutes and continue to pan-fry until nicely caramelised. When ready to add them to the mince mixture pour them into a fine wire metal sieve and using a stainless steel soup ladle rub them through, collecting all of the purée from underneath with a wooden spoon. Discard the remaining pulp.
- Meanwhile, put a heavy-based pan/skillet on heat No 2 with bacon fat (otherwise use olive oil) and add the shallots. Plonk on a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Take off lid and continue to pan-fry until nicely caramelised on both sides. If not using bacon fat do grab all of the sticky sediment from base of pan with a little of the stock.
- I pan-fried the green pepper/capsicum separately. I would far prefer to blacken them all over if I was using gas. To do that place the pepper on a small gas ring on low heat, when that section is black keep moving the pepper until it’s blackened all over. Carefully remove, with oven gloves, and place in a brown paper bag and allow to cool sufficiently before removing all of the charred skin. They really are ridiculously tasty when prepared that way. Prep them at this point (on a plate to grab any juice) the same as is written within ingredients and add them about 5 minutes before serving, with any juice that has collected on the plate.
- Before serving taste to check if extra cayenne and paprika are needed, adding more to personal taste. Do so by allowing pinches of the spices to infuse by stirring them through before tasting for any needed extra. I would also add a pinch of oregano about 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve with a fried egg on top and freshly boiled long grain rice.
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