Sam’s picadillo Sam's picadillo

In 2003, I posted a recipe for picadillo that was such a far cry from the traditional. Instead of ground beef, I hand cut stewing beef into small cubes. And, instead of adding potatoes OR chayote to the beef, I added potatoes, carrots AND chayote. It’s been our standard picadillo recipe since. Until yesterday.

We were in the supermarket two days ago and Sam asked if I could cook picadillo during the weekend. I was a little surprised. Sam does not like beef — not since she saw newly slaughtered cows in the wet market. So before answering her, I confirmed first if she really wanted picadillo because picadillo has beef in it. She said no beef. Use pork instead AND upo (bottle gourd). Okay, I said. Not traditional but when have we ever been traditional with our food?

For lunch yesterday, I cooked Sam’s requested dish. And, to make sure that I was being fair to my girls, I cooked chicken teriyaki, one of Alex’s favorite chicken dishes, to go with the picadillo. We were halfway through lunch when both girls asked if I could pack some of the picadillo to bring to the condo. They liked it that much, huh? Well, I cooked a large pot of picadillo. So, why not?


  • 1 whole upo (bottle gourd), about 18 inches long
  • 2 tbsps. of cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 400 g. of coarsely ground pork
  • 4 to 6 c. of broth
  • patis (fish sauce), to taste
  • freshly milled black pepper


  1. To prepare the upo, cut about half an inch off both ends. You may cut the upo into halves or thirds for easier handling. Using a small sharp utility knife, cut off the skin.
  2. Then, cut the skinned upo vertically into halves to expose the center. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut the flesh into half-inch cubes.
  3. Heat the cooking oil in a pot.
  4. Saute the onion and tomatoes. Do this over medium heat until the vegetables start to liquefy.
  5. Add the garlic. Saute for another minute.
  6. Turn up the heat. Add the ground pork to the pot. Season with fish sauce and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the pork is no longer pink.
  7. Pour in the broth.
  8. Add the upo cubes.
  9. Taste and add more fish sauce and pepper.
  10. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about ten minutes or until the upo cubes are tender.
  11. Serve hot.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6

You may also like...

The Author

Hello, my name is Connie Veneracion. I cook, I shoot, I write. But I don't do the laundry. I don't like housekeeping very much either... (more about me)

14 Responses

  1. Beth says:

    This is the picadillo my lola cooked for us—upo and ground pork— no potatoes or chayote. Comfort food! :)

  2. Crisma says:

    You know what, Connie… I learn a lot from you… kasi, niluluto ko na pala yang recipe na yan, without knowing na picadillo pala ang pangalan niya… Thanks.

  3. anna says:

    i sometimes use squash with my picadillo. i haven’t tried upo yet, i wonder if i can use patola?

  4. peterb says:

    A new picadillo recipe, will try this! Speedy’s Picadillo was the first recipe i ever tried from your blog! That was a long time ago! Got hooked after that! :)

  5. florisa says:

    y’know i never called this picadillo. its always ginisang upo or gulay na upo. hahaha… the upo with no name recipe.. its picadillo pala ?

  6. Ingrid says:

    this is how my mom makes her picadillo. I always ask her to make this whenever I’m sick or its raining. if she feels maluho, she puts diced liempo instead of ground pork and potatoes instead of upo. :) sarap nyan with steaming white rice at coke.

  7. bonsai says:

    Ms. Connie, you make cooking easier for working moms like me. thank you and God bless you and your family! :D

  8. My mom use labanos for our picadillo. it has also ground beef or pork,lots of cracked peppercorns and a spoon or two of white vinegar. Parang malapit na kamag-anak ng bopis…

Stay updated via social media!