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January 20, 2022
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Spicy beef picadillo crêpes with chipotle crema

Green olives, raisins and warm spices give this beef filling an addictive sweet-sour-salty appeal, while the chipotle crema adds a luscious note. It adds up to sort of a sophisticated Sloppy Joe. The filling freezes nicely.

For the beef picadillo
1 tbsp. (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4-5 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. (15 ml) ground cumin
1 tsp. (5 ml) chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) dried whole thyme leaves
1 tsp. (5 ml) chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) dried whole oregano leaves
1 tsp. (5 ml) Aleppo pepper or ½ tsp. (2.5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon
1 lb. (500 g) ground beef (preferably 80-percent lean)
1 14-oz. (400-g) can whole tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
⅓ c. (90 ml) coarsely chopped raisins
½ c. (125 ml) chopped pimiento stuffed olives

For the chipotle crema
¾ c. (180 ml) sour cream
1 small chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
1 tsp. (5 ml) fresh lime or lemon juice
¼ tsp. (1.25 ml) ground cumin

8 versatile crêpes or your choice

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, stir for 1 minute, and then stir in the cumin, 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt, thyme, oregano, pepper and cinnamon. Cook, stirring so the spices don’t burn, until everything is fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add the beef and cook it, breaking it into small chunks, until most of the pink color is gone, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring and continuing to break up the meat into crumbles, until the mixture has thickened slightly, 5 minutes more. Stir in the raisins and olives, and season with more salt and spices, if necessary.

To make the cream, combine the sour cream, chile, lime juice, ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt and the cumin in a food processor or blender and purée until well combined and smooth. Thin out the crema with 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) of water until it’s a consistency that’s easy to drizzle, but still has some body. Season with more salt, if necessary. Makes 8 filled crêpes.

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