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Published on Friday, August 20, 2021

By Melissa Pette

Thank you Charlotte Ciprianni for submitting your "Chayote picadillo" recipe and giving me the idea to make this article. I have made her recipe and the result is a typical dish of Costa Rica, healthy and delicious.

Are you wondering what a picadillo is? The dish’s ingredients are prepared very finely chopped. Picadillo is a popular traditional Costa Rican dish as well as in many Latin American countries. In America we know it as meat hash. In the U.K. it is also known as hache or hachy.

I invite you to prepare and try these easy and healthy picadillos.




Chayote picadillo


By Charlotte Ciprianni,
Living in Jaco Beach.

The ingredients that you are going to need are:

• 3 chayotes, also known as chokos.

• 2 yellow corns.

• 1 kilo of potatoes.

• 1/2 kilo of carrots.

• 1/4 kilo of ground beef.

• 1 onion.

• 1 red sweet paper.

• 1 roll of cilantro or coriander.

• 1 tablespoon of garlic.

• 1/2 tablespoon of salt.

• 1 teaspoon achiote or annatto.

• 1 can of green sweet peas.

• 1/4 cup vegetable or sunflower oil.

First chop the chayote, carrots and potatoes into small squares. Then peel the corn, or use two sweet corn cans.

In a saucepan, add the ground beef meat with 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 chopped red sweet pepper, 1/2 chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup oil. Fry the meat until it turns golden.

In a bowl of water add the vegetables, 1/2 of oil, a pinch of salt. Boil until cooked. Then, drain the vegetables.

In a bowl add the previously cooked vegetables, the rest of the chopped onion, chili, cilantro, and green sweet peas. Add the garlic and annatto. Add the previously cooked meat. Mix everything for three more minutes.

There you go!! The delicious Chayote picadillo ready to eat with tortillas, or white rice, even in a sandwich.



Arracache picadillo

The arracache is a plant cultivated in rural areas. I have seen it in the area of Los Santos, in Cartago Province. The part that is eaten is the root, which looks a bit like a light gray carrot.

The root should be kept in water for at least one day and then processed on a grater, before cooking. But, the good news is that you can buy the arracache packages at the supermarket.

To prepare the delicious delicate arracache you will need:

•  2 arracache packages.

• 1 stick of yellow butter.

• 1/2 kilo of ground meat.

• 1 roll of cilantro.

• 2 onions.

• 3 red sweet peppers.

• 3 red tomatoes.

• 1/2 teaspoon achiote or red annatto.

• 1/4 cup vegetable or sunflower oil.

• 1 bouillon cube.

First, in a pot of boiling water add the arracache and cook for 10 minutes. Remove it from the pot and drain all the water. The arracache must be dry.
Then you chop the cilantro, onion, red peppers and tomato.

In a pan, add the ground meat with oil and half the cilantro, tomato, red sweet pepper and onion. Remember the meat must be well cooked until it reaches the golden color.

Then, in a saucepan, melt the yellow butter, add the cooked meat, the dry arracache, and the rest of the cilantro, tomato, onion and red sweet peppers. Add the garlic, red annatto and 1 bouillon cube.

Cook for 5 minutes until the annatto is mixed with all the ingredients.

Ready! Yummy picadillo arracache to add with any dish of meat, chicken or fish. I like it with tortillas and a beer. Salud!




Green Papaya picadillo

You know the ripe sweet and aromatic papaya. But, a green (not ripe) papaya fruit is also excellent for cooking a traditional Costa Rican picadillo.
The ingredients are:

• 3 green papayas.

• 1/2 kilo of chicken breast.

• 2 onions.

• 2 red sweet peppers.

• 1 teaspoon of garlic.

• 1 teaspoon annatto or annatto.

• 1/2 cup vegetable or sunflower oil.

• 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (preferably Lizano, we love it! ).

Start by peeling the papaya and cutting it into small squares. In a pot of boiling water add the papaya, add 1/4 of the oil and let it cook for 5 minutes.

In another pot with water, add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Don't add oil. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the water and let it cool. Then chop it into very small pieces.

Chop the onion and the red sweet pepper into very small pieces.

In a saucepan, add the rest of oil, the papaya, the chicken, onion, red sweet pepper, garlic, annatto and the Lizano sauce. Don't add salt.

Mix everything for 2 minutes until the annatto is mixed with all the ingredients.

Good job! Your arracache picadillo is ready for your family to try and enjoy a Costa Rican traditional meal. The secret is the delicious flavor of the chicken added to the dish. It is a very low-calorie recipe, perfect to mix with vegetables. Tasty!

Many thanks to those readers who take their time to write. Special thanks to Charlotte for sharing her chayote picadillo recipe with us.

You are all invited to share your recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish by emailing food@amcostarica.com. More delightful recipes can be found on the AM Costa Rica Food page.

Pura Vida!







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