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picadillo (cuban hash) recipe

June 8, 2009

Living just outside Union City, NJ, an old city with the 2nd largest Cuban population of any city in the U.S. (after Miami, of course), there’s a ton of tasty and authentic Cuban eateries in the area.  Not surprisingly, all the supermarkets in town (save for the yuppie-fied ones that sell nothing but $10 Lean Cuisines and the like) have authentic Cuban staples -think plantains, yucca, Cuban bread, etc.  Never one to shy away from new ingredients, cuisines, and cooking challenges, picadillo, or Cuban style hash, is a tried, true, and tasty recipe in my household.  Oh…it’s also a breeze to make and will no doubt impress your friends.


1 large yellow or Spanish onion, diced

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced

20 ozs. of ground turkey, beef (80/20), or chicken

1 jalapeno pepper, diced.  If you can’t take the heat remove the seeds and ribs.

6 cloves of finely minced garlic (wouldn’t be Cuban without boatloads of garlic)

4 roma tomatoes skinned, seeded, and diced.  If not in season there’s no shame in using canned tomatoes.

.5 teaspoon ground cumin -fresh is preferred

.25 teaspoon ground cinnamon -fresh is preferred

.25 teaspoon ground cloves -fresh is preferred

.5 teaspoon dried oregano

.5 cups of green olives, roughly chopped (I use Goya).  Reserve the brine.

.5 cups of brown raisins

Salt and pepper to taste


Sauté over medium heat the onion, green bell pepper, and jalapeno. Lightly season w. salt and pepper.

After 5 minutes add the garlic and sauté for a few more minutes.

Add the ground turkey, beef, or chicken and break it up as it cooks.

Add the tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, clove, oregano and cover for 15 minutes or until the tomato is fully broken up

Add the olives, 2 tablespoons of the olive brine, and raisins and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes.  If the hash is dry add a bit of water.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with:

Boiled yucca, mojitos,  and healthy portions of Buena Vista Social Club.


Spoon, please

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