This is an updated version of recipe that I originally published on April 26, 2003.
In Spanish, picadillo is a ground-or-minced-meat-and-tomato dish. The version I grew up with is a soup. My father (who was a really fantastic cook) used to cook picadillo with either potatoes or chayote, depending on which vegetable was available. So did I, until that fateful summer night in 2003 when I just felt that the beef AND chayote combo was already too boring, while beef AND potatoes just looked too colorless. It was Speedy who suggested a medley of vegetables. And to make the soup even more chunky, instead of ground or minced meat, I opted for cubed beef short ribs. A little adventure in the kitchen turned out a new version of picadillo that my family couldn’t get enough of! These days, of course, with Sam having gone vegetarian, only three of us — Speedy, Alex and I — get to eat picadillo.
- 1 and 1/2 kilograms and 1/2 kilos of beef short ribs (with the bones), uncut
- 2 whole shallots
- 1/2 head garlic
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- 2 to 4 plump tomatoes diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- patis (fish sauce) or salt, to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 large chayote peeled, cored and cut into one-inch cubes
- 1 large carrot peeled and cut into one-inch cubes
- 2 to 3 large potatoes peeled and cut into one-inch cubes
- finely sliced onion leaves to garnish
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place the beef short ribs on a baking tray and sear in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Carefully lift the ribs off the tray (tongs are useful) and transfer to a deep cooking pot. Cover with water. Add the whole shallots, half a head of garlic, peppercorns and salt. Bring to the boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for two hours or until tender.
When the beef is done, lift out of the pot and move to a chopping board. Strain the broth. Cool the meat for a while you prepare the vegetables.
Heat the cooking oil in another large and deep pot. Saute the sliced shallots, diced tomatoes and minced garlic with a drizzle of patis. Add the cubed vegetables. Pour in the strained broth. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
While the vegetables simmer, discard the beef bones. Cut the meat into one-inch cubes. Add to the pot. Continue simmering until the vegetables are done.
Serve hot sprinkled with sliced scallions.