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Monday, February 29, 2016

Pork Picadillo Bowls

Pork Picadillo Bowls
Isn't it funny how you can cook a certain dish for years without really thinking about its origins? Okay maybe not for everybody, but for me, a girl who has a thing for history, culture, roots, and tradition as they relate to food, it is. For example, I've been making these empanadas for several years now. They are my absolute favorite empanadas in the world and if my stomach (and conscience) would allow, I'd eat an entire batch all by my lonesome.

They have an awesome pastry case that uses not only butter, but also cream cheese, which I just know adds to their perfectly tender and flaky texture. But it's the pork picadillo filling that I just can't get enough of. Okay, so picadillo is actually a dish all on its own...I knew that. But until today, I'd never actually made it to eat any other way than inside an empanada.

Picadillo is a stew of sorts, with a tomato and ground meat base that is traditionally made in most Latin American countries, as well as Spain. Oddly enough, I've never used the most common ingredient, beef. This pork version is my favorite, but I've also made a healthier version using ground chicken and farro (also incredible). Now that I've broken out of the shell (so to speak), I'm going to be a picadillo making fool. Beef, turkey, name it, I plan on picadillo-ing it. Oh yeah, I just turned picadillo into a verb.
Pork Picadillo Bowls
I'll kick off my picadillo binge with a slightly adapted version of the one I use in my favorite empanadas, with the help of a few new OXO products that I recently has the opportunity to use in my kitchen. I've shared many OXO products with you over the years because they are a brand that I can always trust to come up with tools, gadgets, and cookware that is both functional and easy to use.

To start, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this vegetable chopper with easy pour opening. Onions and I have a long, tearful history, so a tool that would chop them for me, thus eliminating hours of burning, tired eyes is a no-brainer. It's super simple to use - simply peel and onion and slice it in half. Set a half on the grid of blades and press down using a little muscle. It couldn't be easier (and of course you can use it for all sorts of fruits and veggies, not just onions). Now obviously this is a large chop, so you'll still need a sharp knife to slice or finely dice your produce, but the chopper makes quick work of chopping. It will see a lot of use in my house.
OXO Vegetable Chopper with Easy Pour Opening
I wasn't sure what I was going to think about the Ground Meat Chopper and Turner, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! I cook a fair amount of ground meat for different dishes, and I've always used a wooden or bamboo spoon. The raw meat gets stuck to the spoon, and I bury it under the other meat in an attempt to cook the stuck-on stuff. It sort of works, but never really releases...which means all sorts of fun washing it later. This chopper/turner is miraculous. Seriously, plop your meat into your skillet and then drop this tool into in, using your wrist to turn and lift and turn and lift. It breaks the meat apart like a dream. You don't have any huge chunks hanging out in the pan and the raw meat slides right off of the wide blades. It also has a silicone edge that works well for scraping. It might be awkward to store, but I love it so much that that doesn't bother me one bit.
OXO Ground Meat Chopper
The last tool I tried was the heat-resistant, non-stick silicone ladle. The best thing about this ladle is that it has soft, flexible edges that help to scrape food from the sides and bottoms of your pot.
OXO Silicone Ladle
So what do you say? Are you ready to picadillo with me?

Pork Picadillo Bowls
A fragrant stew made from ground pork, tomatoes, currants, olives, and almonds.
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: entree pork

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup amber beer (or low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons currants
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Manzanilla olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed (optional)
to serve:
  • 4-6 cups cooked rice, warm
  • 1 1/2 cups whole black beans, warm
  • small handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender, ~4 minutes. Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute longer. Add meat and salt to the pan; cook until meat is browned through, 8-10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the pan, smooshing them down as you do to break up the larger pieces, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow to cook at a fierce simmer for 10-12 minutes, until it is still has liquid, but has reduced greatly. Stir in the beer (or broth), cinnamon, cumin, and cloves; turn heat down to a gentle simmer now and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

Add the almonds, currants, olives, and capers (if using) to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes. You want the filling to be moist, but not soupy. Serve over rice and beans, garnished with cilantro.
Pork Picadillo Bowls
onion 11153900_oxo_goodgrips_ground_meat_chopper_and_turner_1 11158201_ladle
Vegetable Chopper with Easy-Pour Opening: Quickly and safely chop onions, peppers, and more in one easy motion, and easily pour chopped fruits or veggies without removing the lid. The stainless steel blade pattern and recessed cutting area keeps food in place while the lid provides leverage for efficient chopping.

Ground Meat Chopper and Turner: The Ground Meat Chopper & Turner's three wide blades help you stir without getting meat stuck in between. Silicone edge is great for scraping and transferring food out of pans. Rounded design helps you scrape corners of saucepans. Heat resistant up to 400° F.

Silicone Ladle: OXO's Silicone Utensils combine heat resistance and non-stick friendliness with flexible edges that are designed to easily scrape contents from pots and pans for efficient serving. The Silicone Ladle is ideal for stirring and serving soups, sauces and more.

I received complimentary OXO products for the purposes of testing and review. All opinions stated in this post are my own.