Picadillo--Ultimate Comfort

By Grace Parisi Posted February 28, 2007

Spending an entire week with friends is a great luxury for me, one I don't often get to indulge. But spending that time with friends who cook is like winning the lottery. 

M.F.K. Fisher so perfectly described how sad it was that no one would invite her to dinner parties, fearing her criticism. As long as the company was good, she would have been happy with a can of soup and some toast. I was a whole lot luckier. Our friends Cecilia and Robert (a Cuban and an honorary Cuban) brought their girls and their inhibition for cooking for a pro. I brought my husband, kids and a ready appetite.

We shared the kitchen responsibilities fairly equally, leaning toward the Cuban. That meant crispy fried eggs and Cuban toast (think anemic Italian bread), Cuban coffee (think sweet jet fuel) and guanabana juice for breakfast. All good-and not just because I wasn't making it. Dinner, however, was where it was at. Rice and delicious black beans at every meal, boiled yucca with mojo, grilled steaks with chimichurri, etc. But the best was Cecilia's picadillo-a mildly flavored stew of ground beef, green olives, capers and raisins. Cecilia served it over rice with a crispy fried egg on top. The runny yolk combined with the meat and rice-heaven! I'm sure she won't mind sharing the recipe for 6 servings.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 white onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup sliced green olives
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup drained, rinsed capers
Steamed rice and 6 eggs, fried sunny side up

In a deep skillet, heat the oil. Cook the onion and garlic on medium heat until softened, 10 minutes, stirring. Add the beef and cumin, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, olives, raisins and capers and simmer over low heat until thickened, about 15 minutes.  Serve in 6 bowls over rice and top each one with a fried egg.

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