Ground Beef, Picadillo de Res

From simple to elaborate, and from around the world, there are so many types of dishes that can be prepared with ground beef. I'm pretty sure that in many homes preparing ground meat often is customary, since it's so easy to prepare, and in less than 30 minutes you can have a quick lunch or dinner served at your table. I used to season ground beef the day before or at least hours before cooking, but then I learned the right way of preparing this meat from a cooking show I used to watch a while back. With this recipe I guarantee that your ground beef will cook loosely and not lumpy. 

There is no need to season the meat in advance; the trick is to sauté it without seasoning until meat is no longer pink and has slightly browned. Once browned, you could then add the desired seasoning for the dish you're going to prepare. Depending on the quality and quantity of fat in the meat, you may need to add more or less water or broth. You can also use this recipe to prepare ground chicken or pork, but you must keep in mind that pork must be left to cook longer.

Ground Beef 

1 pound ground beef
1 onion
1 green pepper
2 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro or to taste
2 teaspoons tomato paste  or tomato sauce
teaspoon mashed garlic
½ teaspoon oregano (optional)
teaspoon chopped olives and capers
2 Tablespoons soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon vinegar or juice of sour orange
½ cup water or broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons of oil to stir fry

1. In a hot frying pan or skillet with oil, stir-fry ground meat until it is no longer pink. With the help of a flat silicon spatula or wooden spoon, stir meat to get it separated and to remove any formed lumps. When the meat juices dry and the ground meat begins to brown add onion, pepper, cilantro, tomato paste, garlic, oregano and olives and capers. These could be chopped finely or processed the food processor before adding to the pan.

2. Saute meat for two minutes, and then add soy sauce and vinegar. Add ½ cup of water or broth, let sauté for 2 minutes more, add salt and pepper if needed, cover and cook over low fire for 5 minutes or until you have the desired consistency. The amount of water needed depends on the amount of sauce you would like to have in your picadillo.

a) The seasoning used can vary depending for what type of dish you're preparing the ground meat for. As indicated in this recipe and leaving it without much sauce or almost dry, would be ideal for filling  kipes, bell peppers, pastelitos o empanadas [stuffed savory pastries]. With more sauce it is perfect to accompany a dish of rice or pasta and to use as a filling in lasagna, pasteles en hoja and pastelones [meat casseroles].

b) To use in Italian dishes: substitute the cilantro, soy sauce, olives and capers, for basil and parsley. For Mexican dishes: replace the olives, capers and soy sauce for 1½ teaspoons chili powder, and 1½ teaspoons cumin powder.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~ Romans 12:21


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