Cuban Picadillo Pies® Recipe

I have a recipe today that was kind of a happy accident.

Ever since I went up to San Francisco a few months ago to cook my Picadillo, my family has been clamoring for it. Yes, there's been clamoring. For the past few years I've been making my picadillo with ground turkey. It's just become a thing.

When I cooked for the Blurb Food Fair, I used fresh ground beef. And here's what I found: it definitely tastes different. Better. In fact, I'm so sorry, ground turkey, but ground beef totally wins.

I mentioned this tidbit to my family and immediately they started asking for it. Clamoring. I had already sung the praises of the ground beef vs the ground turkey. I couldn't just leave them hanging.

Fine, I said. I'll do it, I said. And I did. And there was much rejoicing in the land.

Last week Eric's family was having a Christmas party and we were asked to bring appetizers for the buffet.

Eric: "Why don't you just make the picadillo? With the beef, of course."

Me: "Because it's a main dish, not an appetizer. That would be weird."

Then the brainstorming began and the result was the making of individual personal meat-filled pies. Cuban Picadillo Pies®. Not empanadas, but muffin-tin sized pies. Enough that you get a good portion of picadillo and the perfect proportion of crust. In fact, a couple of these beauties and a salad is practically a complete meal.

They were the hit of the party, by the way. But I sort of knew that would probably be the case. Hello? Cuban. Picadillo. Pies. It's genius, right?

After some experimentation, I decided the picadillo filling needed to have a little more substance and not be too runny, so I added more tomato paste. I added an envelope of Golla seasoning with saffron. I just love the taste it adds, but it can be made without it.

Also, I came to the cataclysmic decision to not use the olives. I know. Call me a rebel. The pie filling is therefore thicker and sweeter than regular picadillo, which works with the slight saltiness of the crust.

You love me now, don't you?

Cuban Picadillo Pies

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
  • 1 ½ lbs. Ground beef
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Oregano
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 1 small envelope Sazón Golla (with saffron)
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (the cheaper, the better!)
  • 1 small box of dark raisins
  • 2 packages Refrigerated Pillsbury Pie Crust
  • A small amount of butter to grease the muffin tin

1) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, green pepper and garlic until the onion is transluscent.

2) Add the ground beef and brown over medium heat.

3) Add the rest of the ingredients and continue cooking until meat is tender and completely cooked through. About 25 minutes.

4) Let picadillo cool completely.

5) Grease muffin tin slightly with butter. Mostly just around the bottom.

6) Cut approximately 5" round circles from pie crust. (I used what I had handy in my kitchen. I'm going to run out and get proper circle cookie cutters for next time, but that's not important right now.) You can get about four 5 inch crusts out of the pie crust and then I combine and roll out the remainder for the tops.

7) Stuff these into the greased muffin tin.

8) Spoon cooled picadillo into the pie crust.

9) Using the leftover dough, roll it out to seal and Cut 3" circles from the scraps of the pie crust.

10) Stretch these out just slightly to make tops of the pies.

11) Press the top and bottom edges of pies together to seal. With a knife, make some slits on the top to vent. You can also just poke a hole in the middle. That works, too, but isn't as cute.

12) Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until crusts are brown. Allow to cool for a bit before serving. Makes 12 pies.

Now they're clamoring for my Cuban Picadillo Pies.®

I totally called it.