Turkey Picadillo

4.67 from 3 votes
1 hour
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Say goodbye to boring ground turkey with this Cuban-style Turkey Picadillo recipe that also has the goodness of sweet potatoes! This super-flavorful skillet dinner is a healthy, budget-friendly meal that’s ready in about an hour which makes it perfect for a weeknight.

Add a green vegetable, greens like my Spicy Sauteed Kale, Lemony Braised Greens or salad, and you’ve got a well-balanced meal everyone will love!

Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes in white skillet with serving spoon garnished with fresh cilantro.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Ground turkey in place of ground beef is a healthier choice when trying to improve your diet. However, it’s easy to get bored because of its lean nature.

That’s one of the reasons we love this Cuban Turkey Picadillo with sweet potatoes!

More reasons we love this turkey picadillo recipe are:

  • It’s an easy dish to combine with only a few fresh and raw ingredients, plus pantry ingredients you probably already have.
  • It’s budget-friendly!
  • It’s prepared in one skillet.
  • It’s balanced. You only need a green vegetable or salad for a well-balanced, hearty, healthy meal.
  • It’s ready in about an hour.
  • It’s super-flavorful!
Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes

What is Picadillo?

Picadillo is a traditional Latin American dish typically made with ground meat, tomatoes or a tomato sauce, raisins, olives and other ingredients that vary by region. The name means “to mince,” which is picar in Spanish.

Picadillo is also prevalent in the Philippines. In Mexico, picadillo is often used as a taco filling and, in some countries, as a savory filling for pastries.

For more information, here’s a complete rundown on everything picadillo, including Cuban-style picadillo at Wikipedia.

How to Make Turkey Picadillo:

Recipe Ingredients:

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Ground Turkey: You can use all-white ground turkey, a blend, or dark meat turkey. All-white ground turkey is going to be much lower in fat, while a blend or dark meat will have more fat. However, it will also have more flavor. You can also use ground chicken or beef.
  • Dry White Wine: When cooking with wine, always use a wine you would drink. If you prefer not to use wine, add additional broth. Or, make a white wine substitute with 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar. Any alcohol that remains in white wine vinegar is a trace amount.
  • Mexican Oregano: Mexican oregano has an earthy flavor with citrus undertones and is a staple in Mexican cooking. Turkish or Greek oregano that you may be most familiar with is not a good substitute as that oregano has minty undertones. These two types of oregano share a name, but that’s about it.
  • Capers: Capers are the green, unripened flower buds of the caper bush. They’re available near the pickled products section.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet and cook the onions and peppers until softened.
Onions and green peppers cooked in white cast iron skillet.
  • Add the ground turkey and cook until it’s no longer pink.
  • Add the white wine and bring to a boil.
  • Let that cook down until it’s almost evaporated.
Cooked ground turkey, onions and peppers in white skillet.
  • Add the spices, chicken broth, tomatoes, raisins, and sweet potatoes.
  • Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
Remaining ingredients for picadillo combined and cooked.
  • Add the olives, capers, red wine vinegar if needed and crushed red pepper flakes for a little more spark if desired.
  • And that’s it!
Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes in white skillet with serving spoon garnished with fresh cilantro.
  • Garnish the turkey picadillo with cilantro if desired.
Close-up photo of Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes in white skillet with spoon about to remove some.

ENJOY!

Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes in white cast iron enameled skillet on blue background with blue napkin.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • When I make this turkey picadillo recipe for personal chef clients, I undercook the potatoes by a few minutes and leave it a bit more “saucy.” If the client freezes it, the slightly undercooked sweet potatoes will have more “staying” power in the freezer.
  • Cumin is a staple in Cuban cuisine. To bump up the flavor of ground cumin, lightly toast it in a dry nonstick skillet before using. This method works with a lot of dried, ground spices.
  • To save time, used presliced green olives. They won’t look as uniform or pretty as slicing them yourself, but you’ll cut prep time.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use a regular potato instead of a sweet potato?

Absolutely! In fact, regular white potatoes are traditionally used in Cuban picadillo. Sweet potatoes are more nutritious.

What sides go with Cuban Picadillo?

Cuban-style picadillo is traditionally served with black beans and rice. However, we prefer a salad or green vegetable because of the addition of the sweet potatoes so extra starch isn’t necessary.

Can I make a turkey picadillo recipe in a slow cooker?

Yes! Get everything prepped for the turkey picadillo to the point of simmering, then cool and refrigerate for next-day slow cooking or transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Add the olives, capers, and red wine vinegar before serving. Remove the bay leaf.

Serve with:

More healthy ground turkey recipes you’ll love!

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Cuban-Style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes in white skillet with serving spoon garnished with fresh cilantro.

Turkey Picadillo

4.67 from 3 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Cuban-style Turkey Picadillo with Sweet Potatoes is a super-flavorful skillet dinner perfect for a weeknight. Add a salad or green vegetable and you've got a healthy, well-balanced meal everyone will love!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Caribbean / Cuban
Servings 4
Calories 346 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper - chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt - plus more to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano - preferably Mexican
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5-ounce) diced fire-roasted tomatoes - undrained
  • 1 medium sweet potato - peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup sliced green olives with pimento
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • Splash of red wine vinegar or to taste - if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan.
  • Add the onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Add the green bell pepper and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Add the ground turkey. Increase heat to medium-high and brown well, breaking up the meat into small pieces as you go until no longer pink.
  • Add the salt, garlic, oregano, cumin and bay leaf. Stir to coat the turkey evenly with the seasonings.
  • Add the wine. Bring to a boil and cook until the wine is almost evaporated.
  • Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and raisins.
  • Simmer 20-25 minutes or until liquid has reduced and sweet potatoes are tender.
  • Add the olives, capers and heat through.
  • Taste and add red wine vinegar if needed.
  • Remove bay leaf.
  • Add crushed red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper if desired.

Notes

Whether to add the red wine vinegar will depend upon the wine used and the acidity of the tomatoes.
SUBSTITUTIONS:  Can also use ground chicken or beef.
SLOW-COOKER INSTRUCTIONS:  Get everything prepped to the point of simmering then cool and refrigerate for next-day slow cooking or transfer to a slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours. Add the olives, capers and red wine vinegar before serving. Remove the bay leaf.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  If you intend to freeze the picadillo, undercook the sweet potatoes by a few minutes and leave it a bit more saucy.  Cool completely then store in an airtight container.  Thaw in the refrigerator then reheat in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees.
REHEATING LEFTOVERS:  Add a little water or broth.  Reheat in the oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees.  Can also be microwaved.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 924mg | Potassium: 809mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 8332IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 3mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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