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This traditional ground beef and tomato stew gets its smoky flavor from Spanish chorizo.

June 13, 2018

Picadillo is a traditional ground beef and tomato stew found throughout Latin America — there are many versions. The secret to our recipe is smoky, flavorful Spanish chorizo. 


  • 1-and-1/2 pounds lean (90/10) ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 3 ounces spicy dried (Spanish) chorizo picante, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves, cracked
  • 1 pinch each of freshly grated nutmeg and ground cloves
  • 2/3-cup currants or golden raisins
  • 2/3-cup small pimento-stuffed green olives
  • chopped cilantro leaves or capers for garnish (optional) 
  • cooked rice


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan on medium-high. Add onions and chorizo and saute until the onions start to soften, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Remove the softened onion mixture to a bowl and set aside. In the same pan, brown the ground beef. When the pink disappears, add the onions back in. (If you use lean ground beef there should be no excess oil; if there is drain the oil before adding in the onion mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, and the dry spices. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pan and let the stew cook for 30 minutes to bring out the flavor.

Uncover the pan, add currants and olives, and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes or so. Garnish and serve over rice, or to keep it low carb, mashed roasted sweet potato or squash.

Cook’s note: Leftovers are great for brunch with a poached or fried egg on top, as is any leftover chopped Spanish chorizo. You may also use regular chorizo in this recipe