Okay, so hear me out. I’ve never had picadillo that hasn’t been made in my kitchen. I didn’t even know what it was until May 2020, when a friend mentioned it was his favorite meal. Of course, anyone’s favorite is something I want to conquer – we already know this about me! 😉

This recipe makes a lot. If I had to guess, I would say 8 healthy servings if you’re eating it without rice. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if that makes more sense for you!

2 1/4 lbs ground beef*
3 russet baking potatoes, peeled and diced
2 red peppers, diced
1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, roasted and smashed*
2 c. Beef broth or 2 cubes bouillon + 1 1/2 c water
29 oz can tomato sauce (you won’t use all of it)
1 T. cumin
1 T. coriander
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add ground beef and cook until mostly done – we want the meat to remain soft. Remove from burner and drain off fat. Add vegetables–except garlic, mix it with the beef, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions and peppers soften. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add about 3/4 of the tomato sauce, the beef broth or bouillon/water combo, and mix. Add all the seasonings and stir well to combine. Add bay leaves and gently mix them in. Lower the heat to a low simmer, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.

Remove lid and cook for another 10 minutes or so until the potatoes are done, and the liquid has reduced. In fairness, I cook mine for nearly 40 minutes because I think it’s one of those dishes that tastes better the longer it cooks. We don’t want the potatoes to break apart, so stop short of that, but feel free to cook it as long as you want.

Remove bay leaves and serve.

You can eat it with rice, on its own, with tortillas, or however you fancy. I top mine with crushed red pepper and eat it with fresh tortillas! If I had any cilantro (I think it’s lost in a supply chain), I would’ve topped with some of that, too!

*about the beef – you could sub ground turkey here, but I wouldn’t. The richness of the beef is essential. I also wasn’t entirely sure how much meat it was since it was broken down from another package, so I made an estimate. It was definitely more than 2 pounds, but not too much more.

*about the garlic – you don’t have to roast it if you don’t want to roast it — you can easily use fresh garlic but use half the amount – Roasted garlic is much more subtle than fresh garlic. However, I think roasted, smashed garlic adds a whole different flavor to it.

To roast garlic (you may as well do a few heads at once and keep it on hand!), preheat the oven to 400. Remove the loose, papery skins, cut the top off each head, exposing the garlic cloves, and place in a small baking dish. You can also use muffin tins, ramekins, or whatever is easiest. I have a perfect little baking dish that holds about 7-8 heads of garlic, and I do them all at once. Drizzle with olive oil and cover each head with foil. Roast until they’re a nice caramel color and soft to the touch, about 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool and then squeeze the cloves gently out of the skin, using a cocktail fork or small knife to help.

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