When friends from Manila come to visit, I am asked “What pasalubong do you like?” ‘Pasalubong’ is the Pilipino word that translates to gifts from travel. I love this gesture. It is one of our oldest Filipino traditions. It means you were in their thoughts when they were preparing to travel.
Family and friends know me enough to bring me back goodies like dried mango, bottled tuyo (herring) and Filipino cuisine cookbooks. Yes, I love receiving Philippine books and cookbooks just like this one sent by my cousins as pasalubong: “Judy Ann’s Kitchen” by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo. It adds to my arsenal of books that are all over my home. If you come to my home, you will see my books and cookbooks all over, — if you love books like I do, you’ll understand.
This week was unbelievably busy for me. So I turned to my go-to recipes which are very easy to cook. I opened the Judy Ann Santos cookbook and I found this version of Picadillo.
You just need ground beef or pork and basic ingredients which you might already have in your pantry. Ground beef or pork are a staple in my freezer. I also had a surplus of organic Jersey tomatoes from the end of summer. The best thing about Picadillo is that if you have leftovers, you can recycle it to make other entrees — like Tortang Talong or even Putong Babi or even Picadillo soup.
Sometimes Picadillo is called different recipe names by Filipinos — like Torta or Giniling (translates to ground meat). Whichever way it is called, family and friends devour this dish in an instant. There is something about the superb strong aromas of the red peppers in the ground beef, the red hues of the thick tomato gravy poured on a mound of piping hot boiled rice that is simply heavenly. It will affirm what you’ve always known — life is good when you can whip up easy dishes like this. Even better, when family sends you ‘pasalubong’ cookbooks, then it feels like you had invisible help in the kitchen on your busiest days.
Picadillo- Ground Beef Saute with Potatoes and Carrots
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves peeled, minced garlic
- 1 whole chopped onion
- 1 whole seeded, white membrane removed, chopped red bell pepper
- 2 large chopped organic tomatoes
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large peeled and cubed potato
- 1 piece peeled and cubed carrot
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup organic beef broth
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper powder
- for serving boiled rice
- In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough, after 1 to 2 minutes, saute the garlic, onions, red peppers. Allow the onions to become translucent in about 2 minutes.Then add the chopped tomatoes. Cook for five minutes longer till tomatoes and red peppers become soft.
- Add the ground beef to the saute. Sprinkle Worcestershire sauce the beef. Blend well.
- When beef 's color starts to change from pink to brown, in a minute or two, add the tomato paste and broth. Add the potatoes and carrots. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix ingredients well. Cover the skillet and continue cooking on a low simmer for about 35 minutes till beef and vegetables are cooked thoroughly. The tomato paste and broth liquids would have reduced and been absorbed by the meat, so the dish will have a slight reddish color. Mix the saute so ingredients blend well.
- Serve piping hot with boiled rice.
- Cook's comments: In the original recipe, Judy Ann uses a combination of ground beef and pork. Feel free to use that combination or else a single meat ingredient of either pork or beef.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.