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Spicy Beef Picadillo Crêpes with Chipotle Crema

(recipe, Martha Holmberg)

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Green olives, raisins, and a mix of 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 if you want to make just a half-recipe of the crêpes. Serve this with a simple slaw of finely shredded green cabbage tossed with lime juice and a pinch of sugar and salt.


    For the beef picadillo
    1. 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    2. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
    3. 4 to 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
    4. 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
    5. Kosher salt
    6. 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried whole thyme leaves
    7. 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp. dried whole oregano leaves
    8. 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper or ½ tsp. crushed red-pepper flakes
    9. ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
    10. 1 lb. ground beef (preferably 80 percent lean)
    11. One can (14 ounces) whole tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
    12. ⅓ cup coarsely chopped raisins
    13. ½ cup chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
    For the chipotle crema
    1. ¾ cup sour cream
    2. 1 small chipotle chile (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
    3. 1 tsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
    4. Kosher salt
    5. ¼ tsp. ground cumin
    For the crêpes
    1. Whole Wheat Crêpes or your choice


    1. Make the beef picadillo: 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 tsp. salt, the thyme, oregano, Aleppo pepper, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring so the spices don’t burn, until everything is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook it, breaking it into small chunks with a wooden spoon, 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 come together and thickened slightly, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the raisins and olives, and then season with more salt and spices, if necessary.
    2. Make the chipotle crema: Combine the sour cream, chipotle chile, lime juice, ½ tsp. 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 Tbsp. of water until it reaches a consistency that is easy to drizzle but still has some body. Season with more salt, if necessary.
    3. Reheat the crêpes: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Put the crêpes on a large plate and cover it with foil. Heat the crêpes in the oven until they’re hot, about 10 minutes.
    4. Assemble the crêpes: Lay the crêpes presentation-side down on a clean work surface. Spoon a scant ½ cup of the picadillo filling in a thick horizontal line across the center of each one. Roll the crêpes into fat cylinders and transfer them seam-side down to large dinner plates, giving each person two crêpes. Drizzle the crêpes with the chipotle crema and serve right away.