Recipe: Kid-Friendly Pressure Cooker Picadillo

Family, Food & Drink, Recipe

picadillo-closedA few years ago, my cousin turned me on to the pleasures of pressure cooking. If you’re going to make soups, stocks, stews, legumes, or even risotto, it’s a huge time-saver. It makes it possible to make things on weeknights that you’d usually hold for the weekend because of too-long cooking times. This also means you can be more frugal — by cooking up cheap-and-healthy beans and the less-expensive tougher cuts of meat in record time.

Which brings me to today’s Sunday dinner recipe — Kid-Friendly Pressure Cooker Picadillo. It’s kid-friendly because I puree nearly all the veggies in the food processor before putting them into the pot, so their pesky texture or appearance doesn’t turn the little ones off. The speed of preparation is also kid (or at least parent) -friendly. It’s probably not all that healthy but I used lean grass-fed beef here. so it’s probably not all that bad, either.


A little background on picadillo. Basically, it’s Latin-American comfort food. I remember having it at my Mexican grandparents’ house all the time when I was a child, so it is especially comforting to me. It’s also simple to prepare and just plain delicious — in addition to being pretty well-accepted by non-adventurous eaters, because it’s mostly just meat and potatoes and it doesn’t contain any challenging spices.

The regular (non-pressure-cooker) version of the recipe just calls for cooking at medium-low heat for 40 minutes (until the potatoes are tender), so, of course, you can do that if you don’t have a pressure cooker.

Recipe: Kid-Friendly Pressure Cooker Picadillo


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2-5 potatoes depending on the size, equivalent of 2 large russets, but I usually use Yukon Gold, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • one yellow onion, cut up and pureed in the food processor
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced fine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (comino)
  • 1 15 oz can/jar of whole or diced tomatoes, or use 2 large fresh tomatoes


  1. Heat your pressure cooker pot (our 4 quart size is sufficient), add the olive oil.
  2. Add the pureed onions and cook until softened.
  3. Add the ground beef and brown it.
  4. When the beef is mostly brown, add the garlic and all of the spices.
  5. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Add the diced potatoes.
  7. Put on the pressure cooker lid and bring to pressure under high heat. When it reaches pressure, turn the heat down to low and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  8. While it is cooking, puree the canned or fresh tomatoes.
  9. Use the quick release method to release the pressure, then remove the lid and add the pureed tomatoes.
  10. Cover again and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. (Note: the top pic shows the pressure cooker during this last cooking stage with its alternative lid, not the pressure-cooking lid.)
  11. Serve with warm flour tortillas.

Number of servings (yield): 6

Culinary tradition: Mexican

Adapted from


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