This recipe for Cuban Picadillo comes via my old pal Tony “The Tiger” Urrutia. El Tigre is a dapper Cuban with sparkling eyes and a charmed personality where meeting him and becoming friends are one in the same. The Cuba of his childhood is one of grand Belle-Epoque mansions lining tree-shaded boulevards beneath blazing skies. A canary yellow convertible whisked him from the sparkling seaside to a gated country estate. You know, fancy.
And you also know where this is going. The days of lunching with his fashionable sister Mary at the Havana Yacht Club and taking tea at the Hotel Nacional were numbered. Soon grandmother’s chauffeur deposited the family at the U. S. Embassy. The S.S. Florida ferried them to Miami.
At first family meals in America meant plenty of Kraft Macaroni and squares of frozen fish fillet. But before long Tony’s mom and sister learned to cook, recreating the breadth of Cocina Cubana. Tony proved an apt pupil and his exuberant entertaining style has introduced Long Island’s east end to many of these elegant yet earthy dishes. A perfect example is this Piccadillo, a savory and sweet beef hash dressed up with pimentos, peas, olives and chopped egg.
And what’s a good recipe without a secret ingredient? Cubes of fried potato add that extra oomph that pushes this over the top.
Tony gave us a copy of su hermana Mary Urrutia Randelman’s 1992 Memories of a Cuban Kitchen (with Joan Schwartz). The recipes are framed by memories of their vanished magical childhood.
Mary’s unorthodox recipe for Perfect White Rice delivers just that and is included here verbatim along with the Spectacularly Delicious take on the Urrutia family’s Cuban Picadillo.Print This Post