It’s been a busy couple of weeks with work and family, so I have not been able to write about all of the cooking I have done and shared in so far this month. I am not going to share all of the awesomeness at once, so be prepared for me to play catch up for a few days.
I did some cooking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I helped cook for a graduation party for two of my nephews, and I did some cooking for my mother’s retirement, which we celebrated on Mother’s Day. It really has been a busy month, and it’s only half over!
Let’s start with the first week of May. I love cooking for holidays and making food with a theme, and I absolutely love Mexican food and Hispanic food. I wanted to start with a dish I had never made before. I chose a Cuban dish that had a little edge, Picadillo. I worried that my husband and girls would not like it. The best surprise was when all of the girls told me they loved the dish and when my husband said it was better than any he had eaten since he was in the Navy and one of his Cuban friends took him to eat it in San Diego.
- 1 pound lean ground meat, turkey breast or ground beef
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup water
- 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon capers, drained
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 6 ounces sofrito
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Cooked rice
Cook ground meat in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned , stirring to crumble. Stir in salt, raisins, oregano, and cumin; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in water and next 4 ingredients; cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped parsley. Serve rice. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
I had never heard of sofrito, and was not sure I would be able to find it where I live. I decided I would read about it and make it myself.
- 8 ½ garlic cloves
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 1/3 cups onions, finely chopped
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ dried bay leaf
- 8 ounce pureed fresh tomatoes or canned tomato puree
- ½ teaspoon salt
Put the garlic into a tall jar or beaker, then process to a paste using a hand-held blender. Put a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Fry the garlic until browned. Meanwhile, process the onion in the blender. Add to the pan with the garlic. Lower the heat, add the herbs, then fry, stirring frequently, until the onion has browned. Add four-fifths of the tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. Add the remaining tomato, cook for 30 more minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
I will be making the sofrito again and again and again! I used it in this dish, a dish I made the next night, and ate it all week with chips. It was delicious.
This entire meal was top notch. It was easier to make than I had expected, and it was incredible. It will make our regular meal cycle and raise our eating experience to a new level.
I strongly suggest that you give this a try. Throw caution to the wind, even if you don’t think you will like meat with raisins – try it. These morsels are worth the risk.