« Brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate truffles) | Main | Recipe for pasta bow ties with broccoli, white beans, pine nuts and feta {vegetarian} »

Recipe for shrimp picadillo {gluten-free}


My husband Ted, Cousin Martin and I visited Cuba for one all-too-short week in 1996, and ever since I've wanted to return. Despite shortages and rationing, we tasted some wonderful food, in places like Havana's famous La Bodeguita del Medio (one of Hemingway's haunts) and in paladares, the private restaurants Cubans are allowed to operate in their homes. Picadillo, a popular filling for tacos or empanadas, traditionally brings together minced meat, onions and tomatoes. Cuban-style picadillo throws raisins, olives and capers into the mix for an irresistible sweet-and-sour tang. In this recipe I've taken those same ingredients and paired them with large, sweet shrimp, served over steamed rice. The resulting dish, fancy enough for company, comes together quickly for a great worknight dinner, too. You can make the sauce ahead and refrigerate; then, reheat, and add the shrimp to cook for a few minutes before you're ready to serve. ¡Buen provecho!


Shrimp picadillo

From the pantry, you'll need: vegetable or canola oil, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, cinnamon, raisins, capers, distilled white vinegar, sugar, frozen shrimp.

Serves 6, with rice.


1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato sauce
Large pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup roughly chopped stuffed green olives
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1-1/4 lbs large shrimp (21-25 size), peeled and deveined


Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and green pepper until the onion is translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato sauce, cinnamon, wine, olives, raisins, capers, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce is a thick consistency.

Add the shrimp, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just pink and starting to curl.

Remove from heat and serve over steamed rice.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Black bean and shrimp quesadillas
Blazing hot shrimp
Shrimp and black bean empanadas
Chicken and shrimp jambalaya
Risotto with shrimp and asparagus

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Easy roasted tomatoes and shrimp with feta, oregano and fennel, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Shrimp salad Portofino, from Leite's Culinaria
Quinoa and shrimp with fresh corn and cherry tomatoes, from Food Blogga
Shrimp with capers and dill, from Kalofagas
Shrimp martini appetizer with tomato, olives and jalapeño pepper, from Cookin' Canuck

Shrimp picadillo, a simple dish with a Cuban twist, from The Perfect Pantry.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


YUM! I love the picadillo combination.. and with shrimp it looks fantastic. And of course, everything's in the pantry including the shrimp in the freezer.

I was there in 2000 - sounds like we hit some of the same spots! The people, the music and the food were all so wonderful.

I'm not much of a shrimp fan but you may have changed my mind with this recipe :-)

I love the combination of flavors in this!!! I've made something similar, but not quite. I can't wait to try it!

Julia, I always have shrimp in the freezer along with everything else for this recipe in the pantry. I love the cinnamon -- such a lovely note!

Kathy, our trip there was amazing. We managed to visit almost two-thirds of the country, and left wanting more. I hope to go back soon.

CJ, try this recipe with chicken!

Pam, the sweet-sour combination really works for me. Hope you like it.

Oh I love everything about this recipe! Have never made anything quite like this with shrimp.

I like the sound of a shrimp picadillo!

Kalyn, isn't the idea of cinnamon with shrimp interesting? The dish doesn't taste like cinnamon at all, but it really adds depth. And I love the tangy sauce.

Kevin, such an easy dish to prepare, and I'll bet most of the ingredients are already in your pantry.

who needs a restaurant when you make it this easy?! Awesome recipe.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.