Thursday, February 21, 2013

Crock Pot Picadillo

Sometimes you sit on the couch all day long and end up buying clothing and workout wear from three different websites.  Have I mentioned that I'm on crutches and probably won't workout for at least another week and a half?  Oh, and have I also mentioned that the main reason I leave the apartment right now is for doctor appointments?  Let's overlook all that.

Ugh.  I do have a reason though!  (My roommate is totally rolling her eyes at that line because I may have used it a few times in the past.)  I went on a no-buy in January, which means that I only purchase essential things.  I was relatively successful with that endeavor.  Then February happened and there were all these President's Day sales staring me in the face (Sidebar: Weren't these sales supposed to end on Monday?  I thought it was safe to go "online window shopping" again.) ... Need I say more?  Now I need to go back on another no-buy.  Especially since the doctor's bills are starting to roll in.  Yikes.

What does this have to do with picadillo?  Nothing.  There's just a lot on my mind and I happen to be writing about it.  So I guess I should bring the focus back to the picadillo.  Fine.

Picadillo is a traditional Latin dish that I would loosely describe as a ground beef taco filling, if you really want a comparison of sorts.  There are several variations out there, but this version is chock full of onions, peppers, garlic, and smoky spices.  Sooo pretty much everything you need to ensure a good meal.  And I made it in a crock pot.  Boom.

Crock Pot Picadillo
slightly adapted from Skinnytaste

  • 2 1/2 lbs 93% lean ground beef
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • habanero sauce
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste

1) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2) Add the beef and saute. Season the beef generously with salt and a little pepper.

3) Cook the meat until browned most of the way through, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces.  Drain all liquid from the skillet once done.

4) Add the onions, garlic, and pepper to the meat.  Cook an additional 3-4 minutes.

5) Pour the meat and vegetables into the slow cooker.  Add the tomato, cilantro, tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cups water, capers, and spices.

6) Set the slow cooker to High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours.  Stir periodically.

7) Once the required time has elapsed, taste the picadillo and add more salt, pepper, cumin, and/or garlic powder as desired.  Discard the bay leaves.

8) Serve warm over rice or with tortillas.

I couldn't believe how full of flavor and spice this dish was.  I had to stop myself from eating seconds.  Alright, thirds.  Don't judge.

What I absolutely love about this picadillo is its versatility.  I can make it on the stove or in the crock pot.  (Clearly I want to make it overnight in the crock pot.  You must know me by now.)  My favorite way of serving it is with rice, but I can also serve it with tortillas, on a bun, or over pasta (think bolognese sauce!).  Gina from Skinnytaste also stuffed this in peppers, which is a fantabulous idea.  Go grab some ground beef and get to cooking!

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