Picadillo-Stuffed Leaves

Briny olives and sweet raisins give this wild mash-up of picadillo and dolma glorious brightness, while cinnamon lends a warmth that makes it subtly wintry. Serve these steamed logs with herbed rice, black beans, and plenty of vinegary hot sauce.

Picadillo Stuffed Leaves Recipe
Photo: Greg DuPree
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion

  • 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 pound ground pork

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives

  • 2 tablespoons dried currants or golden raisins

  • 5 large Swiss chard leaves or 10 lacinato kale leaves

  • Lime wedges, hot sauce, black beans, rice, and slaw, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a heatproof bowl; let cool 10 minutes. Add pork, olives, currants, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt to tomato mixture; knead with your hands until mixture is uniform and smooth (similar to ground sausage). Set aside.

  2. Remove and discard ribs from Swiss chard or tough stem ends from kale, separating each leaf into 2 long strips. Working with 1 strip at a time, spoon 3 tablespoons pork filling onto widest end; tightly roll into a log, leaving ends open.

  3. Fill a large pot with water to a depth of 1 inch (about 3 1/2 cups); bring to a boil over high. Line a steamer basket with parchment paper; arrange stuffed leaves in basket. Fit basket inside pot, and cover. Reduce heat to medium; steam until pork is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges, hot sauce, black beans, rice, and slaw.

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