These fried pies are stuffed with classic picadillo. See the recipe for Piononos » Back to Puerto Rican Christmas ». Penny de los Santos

These fried pies are stuffed with a classic Puerto Rican picadillo of spiced ground beef, tomatoes, and olives. This recipe first appeared in our December 2011 issue along with Kathleen Squires’s story Island Holiday.

Fried Plantain Meat Pies (Piononos) Fried Plantain Meat Pies (Piononos)
These plantain-wrapped fried pies are stuffed with a classic Puerto Rican picadillo—spiced ground beef, tomatoes, and olives—and then batter-fried.
Yield: serves 12


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 12 tsp. ground achiote
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 12 lb. ground beef chuck
  • 14 cup raisins
  • 14 cup roughly chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 16 oz. canned whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 ripe plantains, peeled, cut lengthwise into 1/4″ slices
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup canola oil


  1. To make filling, heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add achiote, cumin, cinnamon, and oregano; cook for 1 minute. Add beef; cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Add raisins, olives, and tomatoes; cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; cool.
  2. To make pies, shape two plantain slices into a 4″ cylinder, overlapping their ends, and securing with toothpicks. Repeat to make 12 cylinders. Stuff cylinders with 14 cup of the filling. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk together eggs, flour, and 1 tbsp. water in a bowl. Working in batches, dip pies in egg mixture, and add to skillet; fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.