In Puerto Rico, Picadillo is used more as a stuffing/filler. This basic recipe can be used as a filler for empanadas, alcapurrias, tostones rellenos, and my favorite, rellenos de papa.

It’s a rich flavorful filler that makes everything taste amazing. The true essence of Puerto Rican cuisine is in picadillo. One bite of it, and you know exactly where you are. Of course everyone makes it differently, so this is a basic recipe to use.

Please keep in mind that the picadillo will have more of a moist look due to using less tomato sauce.



1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon sofrito
2 packets Sazon
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 large stuffed olives, diced


In a skillet on medium heat, heat oil.

Brown beef.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

Makes a lot. Per 2 Tablespoons. Calories: 117, Carbohydrates: 2 grams, Sugar: 1 gram, Protein: 7 grams.

You can find sofrito in the Goya section at your local grocery store. It’s tomato based. And usually right below it is the sazon. When you get the sazon, makes sure that it says with coriander and annatto. The sazon is what really brings out the flavor.

Well, that and the sofrito. The sofrito binds all the flavors together creating this amazing richness only found in Puerto Rican cooking.

When I made empanadas (next post), the first thing Bryan recognized was the filling.

“This is the same stuff that was in that tasty cigar thing your mom had me try.”
“Babe, that was like 5 years ago.”

And that’s the thing about Puerto Rican cooking, years go by, but you always remember the flavor, what it was in, and where you first tasted it.




One thought on “Picadillo

  1. Pingback: Empanadas | The DIABETIC Kitchen

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