One of the most popular Mexican dishes I’ve come across while living abroad, has been (to my honest surprise) “Chilli con Carne” this dish seems to be so popular and widely recognized as a Mexican dish but I must confess that my first impression was: what is “Chilli con Carne”? And it was surprising to find out that Chilli con Carne is very similar to what we call in Mexico City: Picadillo.
Picadillo is one of the most common dishes served in Mexican homes, it requires very little preparation and is full of flavour. Unsure of the origin of the name, picadillo could come from the verb “picar” which means “chopping” and picadillo is a diminutive form of the word “picar”, meaning something like “finely chopped” or “chopped in tiny bits” this explanation makes sense considering that the main ingredient is minced beef. Based on the assumption that Chilli con Carne is so similar to Picadillo, Let’s make picadillo!
The great news is that you will easily find all ingredients in Dublin, (and all Ireland) no need to do any food hunting this time. The ingredients for this recipe are:
– 100 grs of bacon chopped in small dices
– 1 tea spoon of vegetable oil
– 1/4 of onion finely chopped
– 3 mashed garlics
– 1 Large carrot chopped in small dices
– 1 Large potato chopped in small dices
– Chipotle chilli (optional, depending on the level of spiciness you like you can add or simply opt out – You can find it in the Epicurean the food court in City Centre)
– Handful of Green beans (Note: Picadillo, in comparison with Chilli con Carne does not contain red kidney beans)
– 1/2 Kg. of minced beef
– Salt, garlic salt, chicken stock and rosemary.
– 1 Can of tomato puree or tomato sauce
Once that our ingredients are at hand, place a pan to medium heat. Add the oil and let it heat up. Once that the oil is ready, add the bacon and as soon as the bacon looks half cooked, add the garlic and onions. Stir to prevent the bacon from burning, until it is golden brown and slightly crispy.
Now, while the bacon gets golden brown, season the minced beef with salt, garlic salt, a little bit of chicken stock, and rosemary. Mix the spices with the meat very well and then add to the pan where the bacon is already golden brown.
Let the meat cook on that side without mixing until the bottom starts getting golden brown, then turn around the meat and start breaking the minced beef in smaller bits, once that the meat is close to be fully cooked, add all the vegetables and stir.
At this point the meat should look juicy, so it is now time to add the tomato sauce and stir again. If you like spicy food add 2 – 3 tea spoons of the chipotle chilli to the tomato sauce (Note: use only the juice in the chipotle chilli can, do not use the actual chillies, unless you like very spicy food)
Finally, add the tender vegetables: corn and green beans and proceed to lower the heat then cover with a lid.
Leave it there for about 15 mins or until all the vegetables are tender. If for any reason your sauce starts reducing too much, simply add a bit of chicken stock and water.
Listo! picadillo is ready to be served. In Mexico, as the majority of the dishes, picadillo is served with corn tortillas, so you can use flour tortillas or simply get a fresh baguette and Buen Provecho!