Latino-Caribbean Picadillo Stuffing

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  16 servings (3-3/4 quarts total)
Prep Time:  30 minutes Cook Time:  50 minutes

Latino-Caribbean Picadillo Stuffing

Picadillo is a stuffing mixture that is a bit like hash, and usually is rich in flavors from sofrito (the flavor base used in many Hispanic cuisines), capers, and olives. It makes a fabulous stuffing, whether in a chicken or turkey, or a veal roulade. It’s a great alternative to a potato kugel and a great side for eggs. (Here comes the pitch. ...) But WAIT! There’s more—add it to ground seared beef, lamb or chicken. It’s a long list of stuff and the prep takes a while—but it will last for days and is the most versatile leftover ever. It halves easily if you want to make less.

Ingredients

¾ cup golden raisins

¾ cup white or silver rum

1 cup short-grain white or brown rice

2½ cups Roasted Vegetable Stock, or low-sodium store-bought vegetable broth, chicken or turkey broth, plus ¼ cup more if necessary

4 large dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground annatto

6 large fresh sprigs thyme

9 large fresh sprigs oregano

¼ cup olive oil

1 very large yellow onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

2 pounds (4 large) russet potatoes, or 8 small to medium red-skinned potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice

1½ pounds (2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in to ½-inch dice

1 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted (see Kitchen Tip) and freshly ground

4 stalks celery, cut into ½-inch dice

1 sweet red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice

½ green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice

½ yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice

4 cloves garlic, cut in half and roughly chopped, any green centers removed

1½ cups dry white vermouth or dry white wine

1½ cups frozen corn kernels

3 tablespoons capers, drained

¾ cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Combine the raisins and rum in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh sieve under running water until the water runs clear. Pour the rice into a 3- to 4-quart saucepan, add the 2½ cups stock, bay leaves, annatto, and thyme, and oregano sprigs. Set over high heat and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover partially (see Kitchen Tip), and cook for 25 minutes, adding more stock if needed. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steam to finish cooking for about 15 minutes, until tender.
  3. While the rice is cooking, make the vegetables: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté or frying pan over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until softened, translucent, and slightly browned at the edges. With a spoon, push the onions to side of the pan and add the potatoes, tossing gently with a spatula to coat. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook,stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add the vermouth or wine and mix gently until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and thyme and oregano sprigs from the rice, add the rice to the simmering vegetables, and stir well to combine.
  5. Add the raisin and rum mixture, the corn, capers, and olives, stir well, cover, and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, until hot throughout and the alcohol in the rum has burned off. Stir gently together before serving.

Kitchen Tips

  1. This can be made up through step 4 the day before you serve it. You will need to add an additional ¼ cup of stock and the rice will be softer than the same-day version.
  2. To toast spices, pour the ground or whole seeds into a frying pan or cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Toast for 10 to 20 seconds, or up to 1 minute, until fragrant. Watch carefully so the spices do not burn.
  3. The easiest way to partially cover a cooking pot is to place a lid on it and cock it to one side, so that an inch or more of the surface of the food  is exposed.

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