This is a decadent dish that is perfect for a cool autumn evening.


Illustration by Jonathan’s daughters Lucy and Sophia



Jonathan Lacocque
Director, Producer, Editor




1 package ground beef (substitute turkey or tofu)
2-4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
5-8 mushrooms, sliced
5-10 dates, pitted, sliced (or raisins)
1 canned Tomatoes, drained (optional)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp hot sauce (optional)

About this Recipe

Growing up with immigrant parents was foundational for me in many ways. This extended well into the kitchen. My father’s Belgian roots influenced breakfast and my mom’s Cuban heritage filled the house with sweet and spicy aromas throughout the day. Before leaving for college, my mom and I cooked side by side. She taught me recipes like arroz y frijoles, ropa vieja, plátanos maduros, flan, and my favorite, picadillo. When I want to be transported back in time to family gatherings or to meals at my childhood dinner table, I make picadillo.

This is a savory and slightly sweet recipe that can be used generally for tacos, papas rellenas filling, or even shepards pie. Over time I’ve experimented with many substitutes. Use this as a base and have fun exploring ways to make the dish yours.

  • Cook potatoes to preferred softness and set aside.
  • Begin to cook beef on medium heat. As the beef cooks to your liking, add in garlic, onion, and mushrooms. Season everything with spices, allowing all flavors to mix together.
  • Add diced tomatoes, cooked potatoes, and dates/raisins for a few minutes of flavor simmering. You want to cook everything so it’s not soaking wet with tomato juices/oils but should also stop well before it gets dry.
  • Serve on a bed of steamed rice or in a warm flour or corn tortilla. For extra deliciousness on the side, fry some plantains or yuca.


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