Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Louisiana-Style Picadillo

It's been so long since I've posted-- partly because I didn't have a kitchen to cook in while I lived in Rome. We had an amazing cook, Anna, who fed us very well. But now I'm back to cooking for myself. And to honor my new Southern dwelling, I give you a dish that calls for okra. Hey, I have to fit in around here...

I'm not sure what makes this "Louisiana-Style." Picadillo usually comes from Spanish-speaking countries, and it's usually ground beef, tomatoes, and a variety of other ingredients. The mom of one of my friends, Marisa, makes an amazing picadillo, so when I was browsing through a cookbook and saw this, I decided to try it.

Prep-time: 30 minutes

2 c uncooked instant white rice
2 1/2 c water
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c sliced okra (or 1 10 oz pkg frozen cut okra, thawed)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 t pepper
1 (15 or 15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes seasoned with green peppers and onion, undrained

1. Cook rice in 2 cups of water as directed on packaged. Cover to keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.

3. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup of water and all remaining ingredients except rice. Cover; simmer 10 minutes or until okra is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve okra mixture over rice. If desired, sprinkle with sliced green onions.

**Of course, I didn't follow directions (what's new?). When I was at the grocery store, all I saw on my list was "red pepper." I didn't remember what recipe I needed it for, so I thought it was a red pepper... like the vegetable. Well, for some reason, the grocery store didn't have red peppers, so I bought an orange one. When I got home and realized my mistake, I just decided to dice to orange pepper and throw it in when I was cooking the meat, onions, and garlic. And you know what? It was really good!! This is one of those dishes you can throw anything in! And, I'm sure it's one of those dishes that will be great leftover, as the flavors mesh together... mmmm....

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