Picadillo is a Spanish dish made with ground meat and other ingredients. It’s popular in many Latin American countries, each having their own variation. Living in Miami, I grew up with Cuban picadillo. Cuban picadillo is a mixture of ground beef, onions, garlic, oregano, olives, raisins and a touch of tomato sauce. It’s a hefty meal, usually served with a big portion of black beans and rice, and some sweet plantains, or plantanos maduros.
I love the rich flavor of picadillo. It’s an easy, one-pot dish that feeds a whole family. I don’t love how heavy it is, almost completely lacking in vegetables. Instead, I make a healthier spinach picadillo, packed with spinach, green pepper, celery and peas. It’s loaded with flavor and something every member of the family will love—even the picky little ones. You can serve it with white or brown rice and even substitute the ground beef for turkey.
Feel free to play around with this recipe. It’s very forgiving and you can add or substitute your favorite ingredients. I’ve made it with ground turkey instead of ground beef and it’s just as good. Lately, I make it with grass-fed organic ground beef, which is lower in saturated fat and contains 2-3x the amount of Omega 3, CLA, beta-carotene and lutein than regular beef.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for spinach picadillo as much as we have. It’s one of the few dishes I make again and again and I’m so happy to finally share it with you on Love and Duck Fat!
Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the ground beef. Chop up the beef with a spatula as it cooks, turning often. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper. Cook about 8-10 minutes, until the onions are soft but not brown.
Add the olives, olive juice, celery, bay leaf tomato sauce, raisins, white wine and broth to the pan and bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes.
Uncover and increase heat to medium. Add lime juice and spinach. Cook for another 5-10 minutes uncovered or until mixture reduces to desired consistency. Stir and season to taste. Add peas just before serving. Remove bay leaf and serve with rice and an avocado salad.
Growing up in Miami, the Cuban culture is a part of me. I grew up attending Nochebuena parties to celebrate Christmas Eve, complete with a whole roast pig. You can find small cafes all over Miami selling the famous Cuban sandwich, made with buttered Cuban bread, yellow mustard, roast pork, sliced ham Swiss cheese and dill pickles.
This Cuban appetizer variation uses all of those familiar ingredients, served open-faced on thin slices of Cuban bread. The result is a bite-sized presentation of a familiar dish, full of flavor. What I love about crostini is how versatile they are, while still looking elegant, like these, made with prosciutto, Burrata cheese and figs. The Cuban sandwich crostini is an easy appetizer recipe your guests are sure to love.
One loaf of Cuban bread will make about 35-45 crostini, and the recipe below is for 30. If you need to make more, just purchase more meat and cheese. I like to use a fresh loaf, because Cuban bread gets very brittle when it dries out. The slathering of butter underneath the melted Swiss cheese keeps the bread nice and moist, even after several hours.
Yield: 30 crostini
Preheat oven to 350 °F/°C
Spread out the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet (work in batches if necessary). Spread a small amount of butter on each slice. Top each slice with ½ a slice of Swiss cheese.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the edges of the bread are lightly browned (check often so the bread does not burn). Allow to cool.
Spread about 1/4 – ½ teaspoon yellow mustard on the top of the melted cheese. Then top with a strip of sliced ham. Follow with a piece of roast pork (I like to fan it out a little).
Place a single dill pickle slice on each crostini and serve.