Cuban Beef & Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta

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Guys, I think I can honestly say I’ve reached a new milestone.

Cuban Beef & Chorizo Picadillo + Creamy Polenta Life’s tough, that’s a fact, but we all have our own struggles to deal with. I mean, I think when you bottem-line it we all have the same human downfalls but they seem way more unique because of our individual circumstances. One of mine has always been perfectionism in certain things, or maybe it’s more like fear of failure or rejection. (Clearly I’m in the mood to use big words today. Don’t worry, I’ll probably only be able to come up with 2 and 3 letter words next week.)

Cuban Beef Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta, That’s a pretty common one I think, reject-aphobia. It hurts when someone else is not so thrilled , or even offended, by something you’ve made or done. As a primary food person/baker/kitchen destroyer for a big family, I’m always hopeful that what I make will please everyone. You know what guys, that’s virtually impossible. People’s tastes and likes are just too different because, like I already pointed out, we’re only human. Even the greatest artists and leaders in history have been despised by someone, but that isn’t necessarily against the person.

Cuban Beef Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta (2) Like, for example, some people think that a black dot on a white canvas holds some amazing artistic quality. Um okay, but I don’t have to think that though. And honestly, I’ve never gotten the hype over Mona Lisa but I still think da Vinci was a gifted dude. Maybe that makes me as Mr. potato head would say, an uncultered swine, but I just think she could have looked a little less masculine, you know? Also, most cultures eat bugs in everyday cooking and they think they’re delicious. Thankfully, I don’t have to snack on cockroaches if I don’t want to.

Cuban Beef Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta (5) Okay, I’ll stop babbling. What I’m getting at is that I made this recipe a few days ago because it was something different and new that I’ve wanted to try.  I’ve never made polenta like this before either, and truth be told, not everyone was into it or the picadillo. You know what, I’m cool with that. I realized I can’t always let that make me feel like a failure. And on the other hand, a few of my taste testers loved it, including Sophie and her, now 7-year-old, palate. Therefore, who’s to say this isn’t good? It was just very different from anything I typically make and not everyone is comfortable with trying new foods. Hey, I’m not even a fan of everything I make, and most of the time I’m not happy with my photography.

Cuban Beef Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta (4) Personally, I thought the flavors of this meal were really good, but that’ll be up to you to decide. When I was telling the kids what it was, I said it was like corny mashed potatoes and the top was what Ricky Ricardo would eat (who doesn’t love Lucy?). I definitely think you should give this a chance at least once. Feel free to skip the olives and raisins if you want. I left those as optional toppings because that would have been pushing it too far if I wanted the kids to try it.

Cuban Beef Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta (3) So, I think I’ve sufficiently said way more than necessary today, so I’m going to let you guys go and make this. Let me know what you think. Is it your thing or not?

Cuban Beef Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta (6)

Cuban Beef & Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 8 servings


  • 1 pound chorizo sausages
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 large or 4 small red potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup beer
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons hot sauce (such as tobasco)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregeno
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional:
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pimento stuffed green olives
  • Polenta:
  • 1 1/2 cups course polenta
  • 6 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Cook chorizos in a large skillet over medium high heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side until fully cooked. Remove from pan and use a sharp knife to cut into pieces on a cutting board. Set aside for a few moments and add onion, garlic, pepper, potatoes, and bay leaves to grease in pan. Stir over heat for 4 to 5 minutes until onions are translucent, then add ground beef. Break up beef with a spatula as it cooks and continue cooking until completely browned. If there is a lot of grease, remove pan from heat and carefully tilt pan over sink or a bowl to drain off excess grease.
  2. Add beer and cook until most of liquid is evaporated, then add chopped chorizo, tomatoes, tomato paste, and all other remaining ingredients (including raisins and olives if using).
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes or until finished making the polenta.
  4. Polenta:
  5. Bring water, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium pot, then pour in polenta while whisking gently. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes then reduce heat to low. Continue cooking, stirring about every 8 to 10 minutes for about 45 minutes until polenta is thick. If it gets too thick too soon add more water as needed. Once cooked and soft, stir in butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve picadillo poured over beds of creamy polenta.
Cuban Beef Chorizo Picadillo with Creamy Polenta (7)

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