So, this one comes from my senior year flatmate – who also happens to be the guys who introduced Adam and I as well as an ex-boyfriend. To be clear, he and I broke up sophomore year, lived together senior year, and he introduced Adam and I that year. At Dragon*Con. Oh, and he and Adam has known each other since 3rd grade Sunday school. Annnnd we’ll be his kid’s god-parents.
None of which is actually relevant to the recipe, now is it? Well, the senior year of college bit is – see I graduated undergrad in 2006 and it turns out that this is the first time I’ve made this recipe such that Adam could eat it. Yikes. Adam is a mite peeved about this, seeing as he rather liked it. Me, I think I was subconsciously avoiding it for the cup of dry red wine and psychosomatic headache I associate with that. Look brain-me, the alcohol cooks off. No headaches, see?
This one can work as both a weeknight recipe and make-a-big-batch-ahead-of-time on the weekend recipe. The current scale of the recipe is noted as serving “6 guys” – 6 college-age, 6 ft. tall, broad shouldered, ‘I used to play football/compete in martial arts’, metabolism is working on overdrive, guys. And, you know, me. Who at the time (and usually still does) eat like a 17 year-old teenage boy in the middle of puberty. I am going to be sad when my metabolism slows down. It’s not like I’m good about exercising regularly. Especially not in the winter with the holidays and weather too cold to bike in.
I’d like to mention that I also habitually forgot to eat in college – “Why am I so hungry? Oh right, it’s 2pm and I haven’t eaten since breakfast”. Might explain why I ate so much at dinner. I still forget to eat you know, my body is just better about getting my brain’s attention – now I have forgotten to eat every two hours (I’m doing the numerous small meals throughout the day to try and keep the stomach acid down and the brain energy/decision making abilities up with protein).
So, Cuban Picadillo – apparently there’s a big taste difference between Mexican oregano and Italian oregano: 1) oregano is not one I can taste and 2) Adam didn’t complain. I’m betting that unless you’ve grown up with or eat lots of Cuban and/or Caribbean and/or Creole dishes, either one will work for you – but the Mexican oregano will be better.
- pinch of Saffron
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 large onion, sliced finely
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2x 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes with green chilli
- 6 oz/1 can tomato paste
- generous cup of dry red wine, or to taste
- 2 tsp fresh or 2 1/2 tsp bottled oregano, Mexican oregano if you’ve got it. Also to taste.
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat enough water for your type of rice to a boil. Add the rice, turmeric, and saffron; simmer until rice is cooked and water is absorbed. Fluff; set aside. You can substitute store bought yellow rice packages for this, but Adam and I couldn’t find one without chemical additives and other nasties we thought worth it when we could just make our own yellow rice. The color of home-made yellow rice will be lighter than store bought.
- Meanwhile, heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the beef, onions, and garlic; brown the meat. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook without a lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes, letting everything thicken.
- Serve over the rice.
Adam suggested variation: eliminate the olive oil and very lightly brown chorizo in the pan – the oil from the chorizo will grease the pan. Stew on a very low simmer for about 2 hours.