Don’t confuse Filipino-style picadillo with the Mexican and Cuban picadillo which is a ground beef stew. The Philippine version of the Cuban picadillo is arroz a la Cubana.
Picadillo in the Philippines is a soup with small pieces of beef. My father made his with potato cubes; my mother-in-law’s version has chayote. My version has carrot, potato and chayote cubes.
This entry is about substituting cubes of chicken thigh fillets for the beef. But because you can’t make a good broth with chicken meat alone, bones being essential for making a rich broth, I cooked this dish using the broth made with scrap beef bones, cooked a day ahead.
Chicken Soup a la Picadillo
- Cut the chicken thigh fillets into one-inch cubes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Crush, peel and finely mince the garlic.
- Peel and finely slice the onion.
- Dice the tomatoes.
- Peel the chayote, cut off the core (all the white fibrous part at the center). Cut into one-inch cubes.
- Peel the carrot and potatoes. Cut into one-inch cubes as well.
- Heat the cooking oil. Add the chicken cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until they change color. Add the garlic, onion and tomatoes; cook until soft.
- Pour in the broth. Bring to a boil. Season with more salt and pepper.
- Now, we add the vegetables — the one that takes longest to cook goes in first. That way, by the end of cooking time, the vegetables will be uniformly done but none of them will be overcooked nor undercooked. Add the chayote cubes first. Stir. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrot cubes next, stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Finally, add the potato cubes, stir and simmer for another 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings because the potatoes will absorb most of the salt.
- Serve hot.