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Picadillo Recipe from Time-Life Cook Book

Years ago I used to make picadillo using a recipe from the Time-Life series of cook books. I think it was in the Latin American book.

This recipe somehow disappeared into a black hole and I am simply unable to create the picadillo I remember. I've tried various recipes from the web but they just aren't the same.

By any chance, is there a hound out there who has the cookbook in question and could send me the recipe?

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  1. There are a lot of variations ... in the early 70's my Cuban roommate (she lived there until she was eight or so; her father worked for Chase Manhattan) explained that the true Cuban version did NOT contain tomatoes. Her version didn't use cinnamon or cloves, but I think that was family preference. The defining ingredients were green peppers, golden raisins, and green olives. It was a revelation to a girl from Pittsburgh.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Meann

      Yes, I suspect there are as many variations of picadillo as there are of bouillabaise or paella. I believe this dish is found all over Latin America and I wouldn't be surprised if there are differences within countries as well as between countries.

      My problem was that I couldn't find a recipe that duplicated "the picadillo of my youth". It turns out that the Time Life version is indeed subtly different from everything else I tried.

      1. re: Meann

        A classic ingredient that seems to be missing from many of the recipes is cumin. Add a good teaspoon to the meat for that authentic taste that is noticeably lacking when not included!

      2. what is the origin of the time-life recipe?

        which pic are you used to ambrose?

        1. Interesting that the picadillo recipe that had been posted here has now disappeared into that same black hole you mention in your post.

          Here's the recipe I use:

          For the Meat

          * 2 pounds beef brisket or other stew meat or 1 pound beef and 1 pound pork butt
          * 1 small white onion, quartered
          * 2 large cloves garlic
          * 1 large bay leaf
          * 1 sprig fresh oregano
          * 1 chile serrano, split in half from the small end almost to the tail
          * 1 Tablespoon sea salt

          Cut the meat into large chunks, removing any excess fat. Place the meat into a large Dutch oven with the onion, chile, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and salt. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim off any foam that collects on the surface. Lower the heat and allow the water to simmer about 45 minutes, until the meat is just tender. Take the pot off the stove and let the meat cool in the broth. Remove the pieces of meat and finely shred them.

          For the Picadillo

          * 4 Tablespoons safflower or canola oil
          * 1 large white onion, chopped (fine)
          * 3 large cloves garlic, minced
          * 2 chiles serrano, minced
          * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (cassia)
          * 3 heaping Tablespoons raisins
          * 1 fresh pear, peeled and chopped
          * 1 apple, peeled and chopped
          * 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (small)
          * 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (small)
          * 3 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
          * sea salt to taste

          Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet and sauté the onion, chile, and garlic over medium heat until they turn a pale gold. Stir in the shredded meat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon, pepper. Stir in the raisins. Add the chopped pear, apple, and potato, and mix well. Add the tomatoes and salt to taste, and continue cooking over medium-high heat until most of the moisture has evaporated. Stir often so that the mixture doesn't stick. Let cool, cover, and set aside. The picadillo may be made 1 day in advance, if you can stand to wait that long to try it.

          Occasionally if I don't have time to prepare the carne deshebrada (the shredded meat), I use either ground beef or a combination of ground beef and ground pork. In that case, brown the meat thoroughly and then proceed with the balance of the recipe.

          In addition, there are times that I use approximately one Tablespoon of Knorr Suiza Consomé de Tomate (powdered tomato bouillon) instead of sea salt.

          I usually serve picadillo over morisqueta (simple steamed white rice). The carne deshebrada version of the picadillo is also used to stuff chiles poblano to make chiles en nogada.

          6 Replies
          1. re: cristina

            The moderators deleted it, no copyrighted material allowed. Ambrose, I hope you copied it before it disappeared.

              1. re: MMRuth

                The alleasyrecipes recipe is identical. It has the added benefit of telling me what a tablespoon is and a paper towel is!!

            1. re: cristina

              I kept trying to think if I'd left anything out of the recipe--turns out I did: olives. I use about 1/2 cup green olives, cut in half.

              The alleasyrecipe link uses pickled jalapeños. I use fresh chiles serrano.

              And gosh, I'm so glad to know what a paper towel is! It had completely slipped my mind.

              1. re: cristina

                Glad I saw this recipe. They have picadillo on the self-serve hot food table at Bristol Farms and it always looks very good. I was curious about how to make it. Thanks!

              2. Yes, I did. Thanks again.

                1. Love the Time Life Foods of the World cook books. Here's the paraphrased picadillo recipe.

                  Oil
                  2 lb grnd beef
                  1 c onions coarse chopped
                  1/4 tsp garlic fine chopped
                  3 med peeled seeded tomatoes or 1 c canned drained tomatoes coarse chop
                  2 med cooking apples peeled seeded and coarse chopped
                  3 (or to taste) jalapenos sliced
                  1/2 c seedless raising
                  10 pimento stuffed green olives sliced in half crosswise
                  1/8 tst each grnd cinnamon and clove
                  salt and pepper
                  1/2 c blanched slivered almonds - toasted until brown

                  Brown ground beef in some oil. Add onions and garlic and cook a few min. Add the rest of the ingredients except almonds and simmer 20 min.

                  Add almonds just before serving.

                  Serve over rice or as filling for chiles rellenos, tacos etc.