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2000s Recipes + Menus

Picadillo Arepa Pie

  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:1 hr
June 2009
Versions of picadillo—a savory dish of beef, onion, and tomato punctuated by olives and raisins—are served in many Latin American countries. Crowned with a tender biscuit topping made with arepa flour (left over from Maricel Presilla’s Cheese Arepas, it becomes a homey one-dish dinner.

For Picadillo

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef chuck
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

For topping

  • 3/4 cup white arepa flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Make Picadillo:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.
  • Cook onion and garlic in oil with 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring, until onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add beef and cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking up lumps, just until no longer pink. Stir in remaining ingredients with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a 1 1/2- to 2-qt gratin or other shallow baking dish.

Make topping:

  • Stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend in butter using a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dough is moistened (do not overmix). Dollop over picadillo and bake until topping is golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Cooks’ note: Picadillo can be made 1 day ahead and chilled. Reheat before adding topping.