How to make Cuban Picadillo

By Enrique Gili
March 18, 2016, 3:31 p.m.
Bowl of picadillo in front of a bowl of white rice
Picadillo is great for big group meals, be it family or friends. (Photo: nito/Shutterstock)

About This Dish

Picadillo (Spanish for mince) is an easy to prepare dish that home cooks should have in their repertoire, regardless of their ethnic background. Many versions of it exist across the Caribbean and Latin America, but Cubans claim picadillo as their own. Besides rum and strong black coffee, many would argue that the savory stew is one of the island's great contributions to global food culture.

Often served over a bed of white rice, this dish is well-seasoned without being especially hot. The flavor comes from layering one ingredient on top of another to make a harmonious whole. Since Cubans seldom dine alone, the proportions of this dish can feed a small family plus dinner guests. In the past, I've made picadillo nachos and the occasional sub sandwich from the leftovers.

Traditional versions of picadillo use ground beef. Instead, I browned turkey meat with Soyrizo in a separate skillet, before adding the mix to the sautéed vegetables. Taking that extra step will pay dividends in terms of taste and health outcomes for home cooks concerned with counting calories.

Prep Time
Total Time
Serves 4 to 6
  1. Chef's knife
  2. Cutting board
  3. 2 large skillets
  4. Spatula
  1. 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 2 green bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  4. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  6. 1 tablespoon oregano flakes
  7. 1 pound ground turkey meat
  8. Kosher salt to taste
  9. Black pepper to taste
  10. 8 ounces Tofurky Soyrizo
  11. 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  12. 13 cup dry red wine
  13. Pinch of nutmeg
  14. Pinch of cinnamon cloves
  15. 13 cup raisins
  16. 13 cup stuffed pimento olives, halved
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in skillet over medium high heat, until it begins to shimmer. Add onion, pepper and garlic to skillet and sauté vegetables until tender, about 10 minutes. Season vegetables with cumin and oregano, stir ingredients until aromatic.
  2. Meanwhile in a separate skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat, until it begins to shimmer. Brown the ground turkey on each side until it breaks apart and crumbles, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Crumble Soyrizo into skillet and stir ingredients to combine.
  3. Add the ground turkey combo to the sautéed vegetables, and stir to combine. Add tomatoes to skillet with wine, nutmeg and cinnamon and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until the liquid is reduced, about 30 minutes. Then add olives and raisins to stew and cook a few minutes more. Serve with white rice.