If you loved our recipe for Vegan Sloppy Joes - found HERE in the archives of Cafe Drake HRV - then you're going to need to try our take on picadillo, a Latin stew of ground beef, spices, olives and dried fruit popular throughout Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba. Again, we swapped tempeh for the traditional ground beef and the results are pretty spectacular; tempeh retains enough texture to simulate the mouth-feel of meat while also adding deep umami richness.
Begin by heating 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add 1 cup diced onion and 1 cup diced red bell pepper. Cook over a medium flame until the veggies are soft. Stir in 1-2 minced hot green chilies (serrano or jalapeno ideally) and cook for one minute. Now add 1 clove of garlic (minced), 1 1/2 t. ground cumin, 1 t. dried oregano and a large dash each of ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Stir a couple of times and crumble directly in to the skillet 1 8-oz. package of tempeh. Stir again, this time thoroughly, to coat the tempeh with the spices and oil. Cook until the tempeh begins to lightly brown and add 1 large tomato, chopped and with juices, a splash of red wine or apple cider vinegar, 1 T. tomato paste and 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries or cranberries.
Cover the skillet and simmer on low for 10 minutes. The picadillo should be very thick and almost dry. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup finely chopped green olives. Mix a final time and season to your taste with salt and black pepper. You can serve the picadillo with rice, warmed tortillas, in taco shells or as a stuffing for bell or poblano peppers. Leftovers here are usually reheated and rolled in a burrito or dumped atop a baked potato.