Picadillo and Rice

We’re lucky parents.  Sweet Pea is pretty open to new food experiences, and is willing to try anything at least once.  That’s not to say she’ll eat every single thing we try to feed her (she usually refuses plain baked potatoes, they have to be snobby with herbs and olive oil), but she’s a very good eater.  You’d never know it by looking at her.  She’s almost two and is just getting into 18-month sized pants.  Let’s just say that she doesn’t take after me weight-wise (thank goodness) since she has the metabolism of a hummingbird.

Because of her size, I’m always looking for ways to get extra protein into Sweet Pea.  Luckily, she loves soy and coconut yogurt, and she’ll drink both soy and almond milk with added protein.  Our family is pretty much allergic to all main protein sources except meat and soy (beans, fish, eggs, dairy, peanuts, and tree nuts).  Like the plain potatoes thing, Sweet Pea is picky about her meats.  They have to be properly seasoned, and preferably are mixed in with lots of veggies/pasta/rice.  No plain white chicken for this girl.  I hadn’t made this picadillo since before she was born, so I thought I’d try it tonight to jazz things up a bit.

Apparently that was a great idea, because Sweet Pea ate two helpings of this before she started mushing the rice with her hands.  It’s a little sweet and a little savory, and it’s a great (if unusual) combination of spices and flavors.  I know the raisins look like a strange ingredient, but trust me!  They add a lot of flavor to the final dish and a hit of sweetness when you’re eating.  This recipe would certainly be great with some added heat, either from crushed red pepper or additional chili powder, but I omitted that for Sweet Pea.  Tom, however, sprinkled his helping generously with crushed red pepper.  Because it’s not a proper meal unless you’re hiccuping from too many peppers.

Picadillo and Rice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. ground turkey or beef

1 small onion, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)

1 Tbsp. chili powder (add a second Tbsp for more heat)

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch ground nutmeg

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 1/2 c. unsalted beef broth

2/3 c. raisins

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Two generous pinches of kosher salt

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Hot cooked rice for serving

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add ground turkey with onion and bell pepper and cook until the meat is no longer pink.  Stir in garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and cook for one minute until the spices are fragrant.  Add the diced tomatoes, beef broth, raisins, tomato paste, and vinegars.  Bring the picadillo to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.  Stir in kosher salt and additional crushed red pepper (if desired).  Serve over cooked rice.  Makes 4-6 main dish servings.

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