Cuban Beef Casserole with Corn-Scallion Biscuit Topping

Inspired by a Cuban picadillo, this recipe perfectly balances savory and sweet with warm aromatic spices, sweet raisins and tangy green olives.

Slideshow:More Casserole Recipes

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  • Servings: 10


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 tomatoes—halved crosswise, seeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup pitted pimento-stuffed green olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, plus more for brushing
  • 1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 6 scallions)

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and red and green peppers and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.

  2. Add the tomatoes, cumin, oregano, cinnamon and cloves and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the olives, raisins and 1/2 cup of water and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch casserole.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and 2 teaspoons of salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size pieces remaining. Stir in the 3/4 cup of milk and scallions just until a raggy dough forms.

  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead just until it comes together. Using your hands, press the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick circle and stamp out seven 3-inch rounds. Gather the scraps and press the dough together; stamp out 3 more rounds. Arrange the biscuits on top of the meat mixture and brush the tops with milk. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are risen.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Bring the filling to room temperature before topping with the biscuits and baking.

Contributed By Photo © Alexandra Rowley Published November 2011

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