Fabulous Recipe: Picadillo In A Lettuce Cup
In assembling recipes for this Cuban extravaganza, I thought I’d like to have some kind of empanada, the little pastry turnover or patty found throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. They seemed labor-intensive, however, and a bit heavy. So we saved the stuffing and threw out the turkey. We borrowed a Vietnamese custom and placed the ground-beef mixture, called picadllo, in cups made of iceberg lettuce, and topped them with heirloom-tomato salsa to form a exquisite bite-size packages. Who wants to get weighed down by a lot of heavy friend dough anyway?)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 medium yellow onions, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
- 4 Tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large heads of iceberg lettuce
- Tomato salsa
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high flame. Add the beef and sauté, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes, until it’s evenly browned with no lumps. Add the onions and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until they are soft. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in the olives, raisins, capers, vinegar, and tomato sauce. Season with the salt and pepper. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
3. Break off the outside leaves of the lettuce heads and carefully pull out the inner curled leaves to form cups. Place them on a a serving platter and fill each of them with about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Top each mound of meat with a teaspoon of tomato salsa.
NOTE: Leftover outside leaves of the lettuce can be reserved to make a salad. The leftover meat mixture can be topped with potatoes or sweet potatoes to make a shepherd’s pie, or combined with tomato sauce to make a ragu for pasta.