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Cuban Chili: Ay, Carumba!


Cuban Chili

Cuban Chili

Copyright 2010 Kevin D Weeks
I first had this Cuban Chili (the proper name is picadillo) a Cuban restaurant in Sacramento. It was my favorite dish at one of my two favorite restaurants - the other being the gumbo at a Caribbean restaurant. This is a hearty dish, perfect for a snow day. It only takes about 45 minutes and is easy to make. There are several variations on it but the one I fell in love with included raisins for a touch of sweetness highlighted with cinnamon. You can serve this on beans if you wish, but my preference is for rice. (Larger image.) Serves 2.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Serves 2.


  • 1/2 sm. onion; chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/3 sm. green bell pepper; seeded and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 cloves garlic; finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 15-oz. can diced tomatoes (freeze the remainder for a later dish)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves (optional)
  • 12 pitted olives (I like Kalamata); split in half
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. capers


1. Heat olive oil over medium heat then sauté onion and green pepper for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened.

2. Add ground beef, salt and pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, cinnamon and cloves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned - about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Stir in olives and raisins and simmer 5 minutes longer. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot over rice.

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