If you got the chance to try Carol Román’s Cuban Picadillo Pie, I’m certain you will have understood why it took the first place prize for the Savory category at the 4th Annual Brooklyn Pie Contest last weekend. It had all of the makings of a great dish: tender, flavorful, flaky crust and an abundantly meaty filling speckled with plantains, olives, raisins and spices. This is comfort food at it’s finest and you could tell just by tasting it that a lot of time, love and care was poured into it. It was the perfect pie for a blustery Brooklyn night.
Carol was kind enough to send the winning recipe to me to share with my readers. I hope that you all will give it a try. It’s not your average pie, as it’s a bit more labor intensive, but it seems like a great winter meal for a special occasion or get together. You can make your own special occasion: Invite friends over this winter, crack open a bottle of red wine and get ready to enjoy what is easily one of the best savory pies I’ve ever tasted!
Please share your thoughts so I can pass them onto Carol. It’s shockingly her first attempt at transcribing a recipe, but I think she’s done a fantastic job. I hope this is just the first of many recipes she shares with us.
Carol’s Cuban Picadillo Pie
Recipe by Carol Román
This recipe was inspired by my wife who loves steak and everything latin. Instead of using ground beef
for a traditional picadillo, I used chunks of stew meat so that tasters may get the sensation of biting into
a well seasoned steak. Add a delicious pie crust and you’ve got yourself a winning pie. ¡Sí señores!
This recipe makes one 9 inch, deep dish style pie.
1 to1.5 lbs of Stew Beef chunks or ground meat
3 tbs. Vegetable oil and more for sautéing
1 cup White wine
2 tsp. Tomato paste
3 Bay leaves
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper, freshly ground
3 Garlic cloves, grated
1 large Spanish onion, diced
13 large Green Olives, pimento stuffed
2 tbs. Brine, reserved from Olive jar
1 tbs. Capers
¾ cup Raisins, dark
½ stick Butter
1 ½ cups Beef stock
2 tsp. Cumin powder
1 tsp. Pimentón or smoked Paprika
1 medium Yellow Potato, cut into quarters
2 medium Carrots, cut in half
2 stalks Celery, cut in half
1 tsp. Cinnamon powder
2 medium Plantains, sweet yellow
Pinch Clove powder
1 medium Green bell pepper, diced
1 medium Red bell pepper, diced
1 tbs. Dried oregano
If using stew meat, cut larger chunks to bite size pieces. Over medium high flame, heat oil in a large
heavy pot to sear and brown meat. Remove meat from pot and place on a plate to rest where important
juices should be collecting. To the pot add ½ portion of onion, ½ portions of both red and green peppers,
½ portions of garlic and tomato paste and brown. Add ½ cup of the wine to pot and scrape off any
brown bits with a wooden spoon. Return meat and juices to the pot, add remaining wine and beef
stock. Add bay leaves, remaining onion, red and green peppers, garlic, cumin, pimentón, potato, carrots,
celery, cinnamon, clove and oregano and combine together. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil then
reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove cover, discard celery and
bay leaves. Remove potato and carrots, cut into bite size pieces and reserve. Continue to simmer meat
mixture for twenty minutes, uncovered stirring occasionally. When liquid evaporates remove from pot
and transfer to a large bowl. Add cut carrot and potato pieces to bowl. In a medium saucepan melt ¼
stick of butter, add raisins until plump. Add raisins and olives, brine and capers to meat mixture and
gently combine everything. Allow mixture to cool for one hour. Cut off both ends of the plantains and
peel. Cut each in half then cut each half length wise to create ¼ inch thick strips. Melt other ¼ stick of
butter and brush on to each plantain strip. Place strips in a single layer in a roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil. Cook the plantains in the oven at 400° for about 15 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
Double Crust Dough:
2 sticks of Butter, cut into small pieces and well chilled
½ tsp. Adobo seasoning
1 pinch Saffron
5 tbs. Beef stock
1 small sprig Fresh oregano, leaves removed, roughly chopped
¼ tsp. Baking powder
2 ½ cups Flour, all purpose
More Flour for bench/ counter surface to roll dough out
Crumble saffron with fingers to the stock and heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Mixture should
only be warm. Immediately chill in bowl over an ice bath. Combine adobo, oregano, baking powder and
flour in a food processor until well incorporated. Add butter to processor and pulse approximately 4-
6 times until butter is well combined with the dry mixture but still detectable,. Then add chilled stock
mixture in a slow stream while processing continuously until the dough just comes together. Empty
dough onto a floured surface and with floured hands push dough together to make a thick rectangle.
Cut dough in half to make two flat round discs and wrap each disc with plastic. Chill dough in the fridge
to rest for at least an hour.
With rolling pin, roll one disc of the dough on a floured surface quickly and evenly until the diameter
measures about 12 inches wide and transfer unto the pie dish. Gently ease the dough into the sides of
the dish, trim overhang to ¼ inch. Dock the bottom of the dough with the tines of a fork. Chill dough
for approximately a half hour. Line bottom of pie dough with plantains approximately ½ inch thick and
layer cooled meat filling on top. Roll out second dough disc and place over filling. Crimp edges with a
scalloped design or with a fork and cut vents on top crust.
Carefully place pie on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 425° oven for approximately
40 minutes or until mixture is bubbling and dough is light golden in color. Let cool on wire rack for
approximately 45 minutes and serve while still warm.