Meatless Monday - A Remake on Picadillo

  Traditional Picadillo Picadillo is a traditional Cuban-style hash. The flavor foundations are onions, garlic and peppers and the spices are oregano, cumin and cinnamon. I knew if I was going to make the substitution of lentils for ground...

 

Traditional Picadillo
Traditional Picadillo

Picadillo is a traditional Cuban-style hash. The flavor foundations are onions, garlic and peppers and the spices are oregano, cumin and cinnamon. I knew if I was going to make the substitution of lentils for ground beef, I needed to bump up these flavors. What you see here are my updates to make the spices big and bold to make up for the missing beef richness.   It was even better the second day as the flavors married overnight.

I always cook my lentils in homemade vegetable stock and try to work in flavorings while they are still warm. They are a blank slate and add great protein to my dishes. Oh for the love of my lentils!

The Trinity in Cuban Cooking – Onions Garlic and Peppers
The Trinity in Cuban Cooking – Onions Garlic and Peppers

Picadillo

– original recipe shared by Chef Richard Hall

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 red peppers, seeded and finely chopped ( red, yellow or orange would do here, I am not a fan of the green pepper!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing 1 head garlic, about 8 cloves minced
  • ½ pound of lentils - cooked
  • 1 - 15 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes - Hunt’s is my preferred brand ( Depending on how much your crew likes tomato, I might suggest another can. Add one then determine if you need or want another)
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons cumin, ground ( I went for 3 to add to the flavors)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons dried oregano( Always crush in your hand before adding to a dish)
  • 1/2 cup green olives, chopped( I had black olives at the house and used these instead, and in the end used the entire can)
  • ½ - cup raisins. Do not omit this important ingredient!
  • About 1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper (to taste). I opted not to salt with the olives included in this dish.

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch oven simmer ½ pound of green lentils in vegetable stock until tender.   Depending on the age of your lentils, this is usually 20 minutes or so. Strain off any liquid that did not absorb into the lentils over cooking. Set aside the cooked lentils. If possible, work immediately with the warm lentils to absorb more flavors.
  2. Sauté onion and peppers in olive oil in a large frying pan. Sauté about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened, then add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes.
  3. Then, bloom the spices of cinnamon, cloves and oregano with the sautéed vegetables for about 3 – 5 minutes. This helps to incorporate the spices into your cooking and adding even more flavors.
  4. Add in the cooked lentils and the can of tomatoes with the juices ( starting with one can first and determine if you want another) Cook for about 15 minutes to begin to marry the flavors.
  5. Add olives and raisins and simmer 5 minutes longer. Salt and pepper to taste. I opted not to salt.
  6. The traditional Cuban serving is over white rice. I opted to serve this solo and the next morning as the base to my fried egg.
  7. I love the spice combo and knew that ground beef did add plenty of flavors to this party. I had to be bold on the re-make to adapt for the lentils.  I hope this is not sacrilegious!

Enjoy!

Egg Topped Treat
Egg Topped Treat