Picado à Madeirense




Lovely Madeira! If you've never been to this gorgeous tropical island then you don't know what you missing! The sites, the smells and the lovely people. I had the pleasure of visiting Madeira for a short time with my husband to celebrate our anniversary. We ate so many delicious dishes. One that stood out was the Picado.

Picado is marinated steak cubes in a rich and creamy sauce, served surrounded by french fries. It is a sort of petisco, Portuguese for tapas, and is usually served with toothpicks. I have many friends from Madeira and no two make this dish alike. Some add mushrooms, some don't, some add cream and oxtail soup, some don't, you get the idea. This is my version and it always is a hit with my Madeirense and British friends alike.

This is my recipe. I use beef bouillon/gravy granules instead of powdered oxtail soup because I like my sauce a little thicker.

Knorr Portuguese Oxtail Soup, powdered mix, is difficult to find, so instant gravy granules are a great alternative while also thickening the sauce beautifully.

I also use pickled button mushrooms, they are firm and not smoochy. The tang also complements the dish very well. Some restaurants serve it with pickled vegetables and black olives. My recipe is always with pickled mushrooms and olives. I also like to garnish it with a little finely chopped parsley or coriander for colour. Feel free to serve with french fries, or cubed fried potatoes as I have today. Piri-Piri sauce is optional, but here at Casa Castro, we like ours HOT!


Most of the places I ate Picado at made the dish with Rump steak. The rump is a boneless five-muscled primal that sits between the sirloin and topside. It's made up of four of these muscles with differing tenderness. A great all-rounder steak, rump is a little firmer in texture and because it is lean shouldn't be cooked well done.

I am not a fan of rump, so I always use sirloin for this recipe.

Also, this is meant to be a very quick dish and usually, the meat is not marinated for too long beforehand. Since I make this as a meal, I will marinate my meat for a few hours before cooking. It just takes this dish to the next level.


Picado à Madeirense

Serves 4

20 Minutes


750 g. Sirloin steak cut into 2" cubes

400 g. White/ Brown Onion, cut into large wedges

180 g. Pickled button mushrooms drained

120 ml. Dry white wine

120 ml. Hot water

60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil

8 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped

4 Bay leaves

3 tbsps. Tomato Ketchup

2 tbsps. Double cream, full fat

2 tbsps. Red wine vinegar ( you can substitute juice from half a lemon if you prefer)

1 tbsp. Sweet smoked paprika

2 tbsps. Instant beef gravy granules

Salt and pepper to taste ( I always use coarse sea salt and never table salt)

To serve:

A handful of black olives and a sprinkle of parsley or coriander

French fries

Piri Piri oil


  1. Place the beef, paprika, garlic and bay leaves in a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. If you have the time, let it marinate for at least an hour and up to 8.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large high sided frying pan. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add beef cubes along with the garlic and bay leaves from bowl. Brown beef cubes on all sides, stirring often.

  3. Add white wine and vinegar. Continue to cook on high heat for about a minute.

  4. Add ketchup, hot water, gravy granules and stir. ( If the mixture looks too thick, add more hot water a little at a time until desired consistency.)

  5. Lower heat to low, add mushrooms and heat through about 30 seconds, Add cream and taste. Adjust salt if necessary and add fresh black pepper to taste. Discard bay leaves.

  6. Place in the centre of the serving platter and surround with freshly cooked french fries. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and olives. Enjoy xx