This turkey picadillo is just as good as a traditional Cuban beef picadillo. Don’t roll your eyes, and don’t worry all the flavor is still there. A combination of vegetables and spices make sure of that.
Maybe you’re trying to cut down on red meat or save a few calories, either way making a delicious Cuban picadillo with ground turkey is very doable!
In this recipe we use lots of garlic and a less conventional mirepoix instead of a traditional sofrito. A mirepoix is a combination of onions, carrots and celery that’s gently cooked in oil. It adds amazing flavor to food!
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What type of turkey to use for picadillo
Use a lean ground turkey, but don’t use turkey breast. We need some fat for flavor and moisture. The turkey breast will not supply us with either. We use 93/7 (which is 93 percent lean and 7 percent fat) and it works really well.
Tips to make the best turkey recipes
There are two things about using ground turkey that can be a turn off.
- That pale grayish color is not appetizing at all. We solve that problem in this recipe with spices and tomato sauce.
- Stringy pieces that are impossible to break-up once they hit the hot skillet. They scream ground turkey before anyone gets a chance to taste your dish. Here’s how I deal with this pesky problem: Open the package. Use a fork to gently press and fold the turkey to destroy the pattern. Don’t overwork the meat, combine it just enough to get rid of the strings. You’ll still need to break up the turkey when you drop it in the skillet but stringy turkey will be a thing of the past!
Turkey Picadillo Ingredients
The ingredients for this dish are easy to find and straight forward. You might even have most of them in your pantry already. The ingredient quantity and preparation are listed below in the recipe card.
- Olive Oil – we use extra virgin olive oil
- Onion – we used a yellow onion but white will work too
- Garlic Cloves
- Ground Turkey, use lean but not turkey breast – we used 93/7 but 85/15 works well too
- Tomato Paste
- Salt – we used Kosher salt
- Dried Oregano
- Black Pepper
- White Wine, or use chicken broth if desired
- Canned Tomato Sauce
- Pitted Spanish Olives, sliced in half or whole
The prep work is quick and easy for this recipe. Actually the whole dish comes together in about 45 minutes making it a great weeknight meal.
- Dice the onions, carrots and celery. They’re going in the pan at the same time so keep them in the same bowl. I like using glass nesting bowls to organize my ingredients for cooking.
- Mince the garlic
- Measure out the salt, oregano, cumin and black pepper. They are going in at the same time so keep them together in a small bowl.
- Gather and measure out the remaining ingredients – the ground turkey, white wine, tomato sauce, water and olives.
Alright, that’s it for the prep work. Let’s cook!
How to make turkey picadillo
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the skillet. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent, stirring frequently.
Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
Raise the heat to high and add the ground turkey, tomato paste, salt, oregano, cumin, black pepper and immediately start to stir and break up the meat using a wooden spoon or a spatula.
Cook for 3-4 minutes to brown the turkey while stirring and continuing to break it up.
When the turkey is browned, carefully add the white wine to the skillet; cook about 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.
Lower the heat to medium-low and add the tomato sauce, water and olives to the skillet. Stir well to combine. Here’s a little trick I use: Add the water to the empty can of tomato sauce and give it a swirl, that way you’ll get every last drop out of the can.
Cover the turkey picadillo and cook for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and come together. Stir occasionally and keep it at a simmer. If the liquid is boiling too vigorously, lower the heat a bit. How much to lower (or raise) the heat will depend on the pan you’re using and the stove. Check it after a few minutes and adjust the heat if necessary. At the end we were almost on low heat.
Taste and add salt if needed. As a reference, we did not add extra salt to ours.
- Serve with white rice
- Serve over mashed potatoes
- Serve over mashed malanga
- Use it to make baked beef empanadas
- Top a fried green plantain
You may also like these recipes:
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion finely diced – we used a yellow onion
- 2 Medium Carrots small dice
- 1 Celery rib small dice
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1 pound Ground Turkey use lean but not turkey breast – we used 93/7
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 1 teaspoon Salt – we used Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ¼ cup White Wine or use chicken broth
- 1 8 ounce can Tomato Sauce
- ¼ cup Water
- ½ cup Pitted Spanish Olives sliced in half or whole
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
- Raise the heat to high and add the ground turkey, tomato paste, salt, oregano, cumin, black pepper and immediately start to stir and break up the meat using a wooden spoon or a spatula.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes to brown the turkey while stirring and continuing to break it up.
- When the turkey is browned, carefully add the white wine to the skillet; cook about 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and add the tomato sauce, water and olives to the skillet. Stir well to combine.
- Cover the skillet and cook for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to develop and come together. Stir occasionally and keep it at a simmer. If the liquid is boiling too vigorously, lower the heat as needed.
- Taste the picadillo and add salt if needed. As a reference, we did not add extra salt to ours.
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