The way I like it best, though, is over rice, and these days I’m more likely to make this vegan version, using a can of lentils instead of a pound of ground beef. Aside from that change, it tastes a lot like my beef picadillo. Both start with a flavorful base of onions and garlic, get a boost from a blend of spices and are finished with a few pimento-stuffed Manzanilla olives and raisins.
“Raisins are divisive,” Jessica van Dop DeJesus, of the Dining Traveler, told me when I called. “I always start with a sofrito, and add extra onion, because I liked the texture of the chopped onion,” she said. “And I’m team olive.”
“I like a sweet version, with fresh and dried fruit for stuffing chiles en nogada,” my friend Adriana Velez texted me when I asked how she made her picadillo. “For other dishes, I like