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Published April 20, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious Picadillo recipe is loaded up with slow-cooked shredded beef and vegetables in a delicious zesty tomato and chile broth. The flavors in this recipe are incredible as this will quickly become your new favorite comfort meal.
I’m a huge fan of Mexican and Latin American food. From the bold robust flavors to the rich history of their classical recipes, I love it all. If you are in the same boat, then definitely check out my Birria Consome or Pork Pozole.
Picadillo is a favorite dish in several Spanish-speaking countries, especially in Mexico. There are many variations to this dish depending on where you are eating and who is making it. It can have pork, beef, or veal, along with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and other regional and seasonal vegetables.
Picadillo can be as basic and as simple as can be or can be a bit more complex like my recipe. So much of the tradition of this recipe was based on what was available, and that is why this dish looks so different depending on om the maker of it. One thing is for certain, they are all delicious.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Beef – I prefer to use a top or bottom round for this recipe. Be sure to trim off any unwanted fat.
- Assorted Vegetables – This can be completely interchangeable, but you must at least have potatoes. I also like to add in zucchini, carrots, and swiss chard.
- Chiles – This can also be a combination, but I use chiles de arbol and guajillo chiles.
- Beef Stock – Use good beef stock for this recipe as it will be used to braise the beef and season the stew.
- Tomatoes – You can use any fresh tomato as it will be pan-roasted and pureed for the picadillo sauce.
- Onions – I prefer yellow onions, but you can use white or sweets for this. You will also need a few whole garlic cloves.
How to Make Picadillo
Use these step-by-step instructions and images to make this incredibly delicious Picadillo recipe:
In a large rondeau pot with a small amount of oil pan over medium-high heat, roast some tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onions, and cumin seeds. Set aside for later.
Next, season some top round beef that has been cut into smaller chunks with salt and pepper.
Sear those chunks of beef in some oil over medium-high heat in that same rondeau pot as the vegetables until browned on all sides. Set the beef aside.
In that same pan add in some onions and brown well for about 20 minutes over low to medium heat.
Deglaze the pan with beef stock and season well with salt and pepper.
Add the seared beef back into the pan and cover and cook on medium heat for about 90 minutes or until the meat easily shreds apart.
With about 20 minutes or so left in the beef braising process, remove some seeds from some chiles de Arbol and guajillo chiles and add them to the pan with the beef and cook just until reconstituted and softened.
Set the beef to the side on a plate and add the softened chiles to a blender along with the original roasted tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onions, and cumin seeds, as well as some of the braising broth, and puree until completely smooth. Set aside.
Pour out the remaining broth into another pot and keep warm.
In the same pot add a small amount of oil and sauté the vegetables over medium-high heat until very lightly browned.
While the vegetables are sautéing, shred the beef with two forks.
Once the vegetables are lightly browned, add in the shredded beef, warm braising beef stock, and pureed vegetable mixture. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Serve the picadillo in a bowl by itself or alongside some Mexican rice and hot corn tortillas.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this picadillo up to 1 day ahead of time, just follow the reheating instructions below.
How to Store: You can store this picadillo covered in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. This will also freeze covered for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of picadillo to a medium-sized saucepot and cook over low heat until hot. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Picadillo Called in English?
- It translates to, “hash,” although there are many variations of it throughout Mexico and several Spanish-speaking countries.
Where did the word Picadillo come from?
- from the word “picar,” which means to mince in Spanish.
chef notes + tips
- You can substitute the top or bottom round beef with ground beef, which will make this recipe preparation much quicker.
- Some other vegetables you can add are green beans, chayote, mushrooms, cabbage, and/or peas.
- Additional chiles you can use are chipotles or ancho chiles.
- When blending anything hot, you must remember to remove that center cap to the top of the blender so that it does not build up pressure and explode. Also, remember to start on low speed and then turn it up once it gets going.
More Mexican Food Recipes
Mexican Picadillo Recipe (Picadillo de Rancho)
- 6 tablespoons oil
- 2 large tomatoes, stems removed
- 2 peeled yellow onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 peeled and stemmed tomatillos
- 1 tablespoon cumin seed
- 2 pounds top round beef, cut into large chunks
- 8 cups beef stock
- 1 seeded chile de arbol
- 1 seeded guajillo chile
- 4 peeled and large diced large Yukon potatoes
- 2 large diced green zucchinis
- 4 peeled and large diced large carrots
- 4 thickly sliced leaves of swiss chard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large rondeau pot over medium-high heat and roast the tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, and onion sliced in half until browned on all sides, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes total.
- Remove the vegetables and then add the cumin seeds and cook over low heat just for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside on top of the vegetables.
- Next, season some top round beef that has been cut into smaller chunks with salt and pepper.
- Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to that same rondeau pan over medium-high heat and sear those chunks of beef until they are well browned on all sides, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Set the beef aside.
- In that same pan add a peeled onion that has been medium-diced and brown well for about 20 minutes over low to medium heat.
- Deglaze the pan with beef stock and season well with salt and pepper.
- Add the seared beef back into the pan and cover and cook on medium heat for about 60 minutes or until the meat easily shreds apart.
- With about 20 minutes or so left in the beef braising process, remove the seeds from some chiles de arbol and guajillo chile and add them to the rondeau pan with the beef and cook just until reconstituted and softened.
- Set the beef to the side on a plate and add the softened chiles to a blender along with the original roasted tomatoes, tomatillos, garlic, onions, and cumin seeds, as well as about 1 cup of the braising broth and puree until completely smooth. Set aside. See notes.
- Pour out the remaining broth into another pot and keep warm.
- In the same pot add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and sauté the potatoes, zucchinis, carrots, and swiss chard over medium-high heat until very lightly browned, which takes about 5-7 minutes.
- While the vegetables are sautéing, shred the beef with two forks.
- Once the vegetables are lightly browned, add in the shredded beef, warm braising beef broth, and pureed vegetable mixture. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
- Serve in a bowl by itself or alongside some Mexican rice and hot corn tortillas.