Comfort Food Classics: Picadillo Dreams

This week we've been talking all about Comfort Food.  So while we're still on the subject I want to share one of my Hubby's favorite comfort food dishes...Picadillo.

This is one of those rare recipes, in which my grandparents' and mother-in-law's recipes are very similar.  The only difference is that Pappy (my grandpa) made Picadillo with ground beef and canned red enchilada sauce.   My mother-in-law uses thin-cut beef steak and prepares her own sauce using dried ancho chilies.

This is such a wonderful dish, however you choose to make it.  The dried ancho chilies offer plenty of flavor, but don't worry they don't pack any heat.  That's what the serrano chilies are for!  And if you're really feeling brave, you can use fresh jalapeño peppers.  Ay, ay, ay!



  • 1-1/2 pounds thin cut beef steak
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 dried ancho chilies
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 serrano chilies, sliced

Place the meat, half of the onion and the garlic in a medium saucepan.  Cover with water and season with salt and pepper.  Cook over high heat until it begins to boil.  Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the meat simmer until tender.  (About 60 to 90 minutes.)

While the meat is cooking, cook the ancho chilies in 2 cups of water until the chilies are soft.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies.  In a blender or food processor, puree the chilies with the water they were cooked in, until smooth.  Season chili puree with salt; set aside.

Once the meat is tender.  Let it cool slightly, then shred it using two forks or with your fingers. Or pulse the meat in batches in a blender.  (That's how my mother-in-law shred her picadillo meat.) In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat.  Saute the chopped onion and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the chopped serrano chilies, chopped tomatoes and the shredded meat.  Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the chile puree and 1 cup of the broth that the meat was cooked in.  Season with salt.  Cover the skillet and reduce heat to low.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.  *If sauce is too thick, stir in more of the broth, until desired consistency.

Serve with Mexican Rice and plenty of warm corn tortillas.  Enjoy!!!


  1. Leslie, this sounds delicious. It's similar to what I do with leftover chunks of meat in my electric pressure cooker but I have not tried it with the dried chilies.

    I'm just glad to see a picadillo recipe that doesn't list raisins in the ingredients.

  2. I love this way to make it. In SLP they use hamburger meat and add cut up potatoes. I like your way, im going to try it!

  3. Oh yum, that last picture has me drooling!

  4. nick is going to have to make a concession and eat beef when i make this. this recipe and the chile colorado look fabulous -- i am feeling very hungry!!

  5. Wow! Leslie, this looks amazing!!! Don't ask what I'm having for dinner, Its definately not better than this!

  6. Just came across your blog, I am new to this, and just had to say it is wonderful. As a Mexican woman, I have to say your recipes are beyond fabulous. Thank you so much for sharing with everyone!!!

  7. Your picadillo looks amazing! I am definitely trying this recipe!

  8. It seems like every former Spanish colony has evolved its own version of picadillo. In the Philippines, picadillo is made with ground beef, green peppers (no chili peppers) and raisins.

  9. Leslie, this is a new version to me and it looks amazingly delicious! I've only known the ground beef variety until now (no raisins or green olives please). I do like adding potatoes. I just now realized that this dish is what we call 'guisado' in my neck of the woods. Exactly like your recipe but without the dried chile, which would really make it extraordinarily good!

  10. Its what's for dinner.  :)  Thank you for your recipes. 

  11. Yes! My family is from SLP (Rio Verde) and that's how we make it. Except we don't use chiles. Our sauce is tomato, onion & garlic all pureed and some cilantro to top it off. Mmmmmm.....

  12. please, no me recuerden del picadillo estilo Rioverde. Me recuerdo y se me hace agua la boca. Donde estan potosinas ? Yo estoy en Ca . y no encuentro a nadie de SLP