This is an old family recipe that my grandmother used to treat us to when we lived in Florida and reminds me of the rich Cuban traditions that were such a big part of my culinary awakening and that still continue to influence me. Invite some friends over grab a couple or three bottles of wine (see my recommendations below) and spoil them with this dish; you will be the talk of the supper club circuit.
1 pound ground grass fed beef
1 pound ground pork
2 medium yellow onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large green bell pepper
3 tbs Olive Oil
2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 tbs brown sugar
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup stuffed green olives, chopped
½ cup raisins
1 tbs capers
½ cup red wine
6 small tomatoes chopped (or 2 small cans)
2 tbs Olive Oil
2 cup Uncooked Rice
3 Shallots; minced
5 cups Chicken Stock
1 tsp Saffron
Salt to taste
Making the magic happen:
Chop the onions and green peppers very fine and brown in the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, minced garlic, pepper, and ground beef and pork, stirring constantly to break into small bits. Add remaining ingredients slowly and simmer on medium until meat is tender, about 1 hour.
Mean while sauté rice and shallots in olive oil until shallots are limp. Combine rice and shallots with broth in pot; season with saffron, salt. Cover and steam until rice is done, 18 to 20 minutes. Uncover and allow to dry out, 3 to 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.
Serve the Picadillo over the yellow rice.
Wine pairing suggestion:
This is a dish that brings a lot of flavor to the table. Since there is a bit of sweet and savory interplay that happens with the Picadillo it lends itself to a wine that brings some acid and fruit, which will both balance and complement the flavors of the meal. I have selected three wines that I think have what it takes to make a perfect pairing.
Abadia Retuerta Selección Especial 2006 -Sardón de Duero, Spain
In the glass a very intense dark core with some cherry color on the rim. The nose is complex with fresh red fruit and hints of eucalyptus and well-integrated oak aromas of roasted coffee and caramel. A very soft and supple entrance on the palate leads to flavors of dark berries, vanilla, and earth. Great balance between alcohol, acidity and structure with very fine ripe soft tannins that linger on a long persistent finish.
Imagery Estate Winery Grenache 2008 – Sonoma Valley, California
In the glass a medium plus ruby core fading to a light ruby rim. The wine shows medium plus aromas of baking spices, ripe blackberry fruit and a good dose of vanillin. The palate boasts enticing flavors of dark fruits, blackberry, cinnamon, smoked meats, and a floral quality. The wine is balance with fruit and acid although the alcohol is a little on the high side. The finish is punctuated by oak and shows medium complexity.
Pic Saint Loup Rouge “Cuvée Sainte Agnès” 2007 – Languedoc, France
In the glass it is dark core with a slight garnet rim. The initial aromas are medium in intensity of baked berry pie with an old world earthy. On the palate it is sturdy and rustic with a taste of wild herbs, berries, savoriness, and earth. The wine is balanced and shows medium plus complexity on the finish.
Let us know what wine you end up pairing with this gorgeous Cuban dish and how it worked.
Remember wine is about the journey of discovery, not just the destination of an empty bottle!