Friday, April 3, 2009



April has appeared with her showers. Not that I was around for the original to know for sure, but Mother Nature has been serving up what must be a flood of biblical proportions since last night, and it appears it will stay with us at least until this afternoon. Our back yard has water standing in low spots; the grass is a wildly exuberant shade of green and you can practically watch it grow. I have nothing pressing to do outdoors today. The big job will be scrubbing the kitchen floor, and I do mean scrubbing, hands-and-knees work that will make the floor look like new and be THE thing that sells the house. (Of course, after I'm done, nobody will be allowed to walk on the floor....)

Today's recipe is an adaptation of a rare thing: a recipe from The Washington Post that actually worked on the first try. The salty-sweet interplay between the raisins and the olives is a treat, and the texture of the healthier ground turkey actually works better, to my taste, than the standard ground beef, which in a dish like this can cook down to crumbs. It's a good, quick weekday dinner, and you can be as loose as you want with portions in the recipe. It calls for a "small" red bell pepper, for instance, but in my grocery store these do not exist, so I just cut up the entire monster that I had to purchase and it was delicious. Also, the original recipe calls for 3/4 pound of ground meat. Who can buy that odd amount? And if you only use 3/4 pound, what do you do with that little bit that's left over from the entire pound the store will only allow you to buy? I just used the whole pound.

Note: I left salt out of the recipe on purpose, because the canned tomatoes and beans have enough of their own. If you choose the unsalted variety, add salt to taste when you cover the Picadillo to simmer.

1 small red bell pepper
1 medium red onion
2 cloves garlic, or to taste
1 lb. lean ground turkey
2 teaspoons olive oil
Handful of stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped
One 15- 16-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 14.5-oz can Mexican-spice diced tomatoes
Handful of dark raisins
Cooked rice

Stem and seed bell pepper, coarsely chop and place in bowl. Coarsely chop onion and garlic and add to bowl with pepper and set aside.

Heat oil in large sauté pan, crumble turkey in and cook until pink begins to disappear. Add chopped vegetables and continue to cook until all trace of pink is gone from the meat and vegetables begin to soften. Add cumin, sugar, and pepper flakes and cook until the cumin is fragrant, then add the drained beans, the tomatoes with their juice, and the raisins. When bubbles appear at the edges, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer 10-15 minutes, until flavors have blended.

Off heat, stir in chopped olives. Serve immediately over cooked rice.


Anonymous said...

Good one! Sounds tasty. Will try Monday. Welcome back FOOD FRIDAY!

Ralph said...

I've got a few stored up now, Z&M!

Peewit said...

How bizarre, we had turkey and black bean chilli just before I sat down to read the blogs. Very similar but minus the raisins, olives and cumin but adding oregano and basil and mushrooms.

What is in the "Mexican spice" tomatoes to make them "Mexican Spice"?

Ralph said...

Hmm-I think it's basically some cumin and a little hot pepper, Peewit. Maybe some cilantro. Nothing very fancy.

In an office I worked in once, before all the ultra-security made it impossible for anyone but those who worked there to enter a government building, there was a little Peruvian woman wh0 used to roam the halls selling empanadas--a version of your "pasties," little rolled meat pies. That were delicious, had this filling plus chopped hard boiled egg, and sometimes green peas. Yum!