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.