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Bison picadillo is a hearty meat and potato dish that can be eaten a variety of ways. It’s perfect for tacos, over rice, or just eating on its own.
When it comes to dinner at home, I like it quick, easy, and full of flavor. Not just for me, though — when you’re raising kids part of the job is exposing them to the world, and in my view that’s through food.
One great way to expand kids’ palates is to take familiar concepts and expand upon them. My kids have been eating tacos since they were old enough to hold a tortilla, and ground beef is always in rotation in the kitchen.
From there it’s only a couple of tweaks to making picadillo, one of their new favorite taco fillings. Yes, even for my older child who thinks potatoes must only be mashed, and my younger child who thinks carrots should be avoided at all costs.
what is picadillo?
Picadillo is a minced meat dish popular in Latin countries that is similar to hash. The word “picar” means “to mince” in Spanish, which is how the name for this savory dish came about.
There are probably as many picadillo recipes as there are people who live in Texas. There are differing varieties in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and many other countries.
Some picadillo recipes use green olives and/or raisins. My family is not fond of either, so I skip those additions.
I use bison as the protein in my picadillo recipe. While many supermarkets (and even Costco) are now carrying bison, if you can’t find it simply swap in ground beef.
We like bison because it has a bit of a different flavor that is fuller and richer than beef. It also has more protein and less fat, so if you’re looking to meet dietary requirements, it’s a great option!
Stores generally sell it packaged as ground bison, which is perfect for this recipe! I also get ground bison to use for my baked bison meatballs, and for my bison one-pot dinner (one of my most popular recipes!).
ways to eat picadillo
My household was first introduced to picadillo in tacos, and that is how we like to eat it (with plenty of queso fresco and tomatillo salsa!).
However, bison picadillo is also excellent over rice or noodles, and can be used as a filling for empanadas. You could also try it inside a lettuce wrap or steamed spaghetti squash for a lighter option.
Bison picadillo is also excellent in the morning — just add some eggs for a different take on breakfast hash.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 pound ground bison
- 8 ounces potato, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the sauce
- 1 pound tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon diced jalapeño
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- In a high-sided skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Break ground bison into pieces and add to skillet, breaking up further as it cooks. Cook until browned, about 8 minutes.
- Add potatoes, carrot, and garlic and stir well.
- In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and ground pepper. Shake spices over meat mixture and stir to incorporate.
- In a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, and garlic. Pulse to puree to desired consistency.
- Pour sauce over meat, stirring to incorporate. Cover skillet and lower heat to just under medium. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. If needed, cook uncovered during last minutes to thicken sauce.
- Serve with tortillas or over rice.