A Traditional Favorite Picadillo is one of those dishes that mean comfort in my culture. It’s very common for this dish to be prepared at least once a week in my home and you could find it as a daily special in almost any Cuban …
Tapping into my Spanish Roots I recently did one of those genetic tests and found out I’m 72% Iberian. Ole! Feeling inspired by my results, I decided to ask my mom for her delicious Tortilla Española recipe. I called her last week and she neatly pulled together …
The translation of a “Papa Rellena” is a stuffed potato. Papa Rellenas are bite-sized or tapa style potato bites wrapped in breadcrumbs. When you bite into them, you’ll find a delicious Picadillo filling in the center. Papa Rellenas are fried, however, I’ve started to see …
When You’re Feeling More Exotic than a Baked Potato
Yuca has always been an intimating root vegetable for me. To make it easier to work with, I always buy it in its frozen, already peeled form. This starchy vegetable is a great source of Vitamin C, Potassium, and Magnesium. Oven Roasted Yuca can be served as an interesting side dish when you’re bored of roasted red potatoes or a baked potato. If you’re watching the carbs, enjoy yuca in moderation because, like potatoes, it does have about 40 carbs per serving. If you can’t find yuca or yuca root in your local grocery store, look for cassava in the frozen international foods or vegetable section.
Cuban Style Yuca
The traditional version is boiled and roasted and drizzled with Mojo dressing. Mojo in its most basic form is a dressing of olive oil, garlic, onion, sour orange, cumin, salt, and pepper. The longer the flavors fuse together, the more delicious it is. There are bottled up versions in the grocery store but if you’d like me to post a recipe for this, let me know in the comments below. The best Cuban style yuca I have ever tasted is made by my mother in law, senora Amparo. Her yuca is always tender and has the perfect amount of Mojo drizzled all over it. I look forward to it for every special occasion, family get-togethers, and holiday parties.
This recipe is meant to be simpler and quicker and while it does have some elements of Cuban Style Yuca, it can be prepared to complement any main dish and modified to your liking.
I Love Garlic and Onion
Yuca can be bland but that only means that its a great base for adding herbs and flavors. I stayed true to the Cuban roots by adding minced garlic and sliced onions on top of this version. If you don’t have onions or garlic on hand, use onion and garlic powder. I prefer to use yellow onions for this recipe but I would encourage experimenting with shallots, red pepper flakes, red onions and some red wine vinegar too. I like to garnish this dish with fresh parsley but cilantro is also a good alternative. Let me know your variations in the comments below.
Oven Roasted Yuca or Cassava
- 1 1/2 lbs frozen yuca or cassava
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 yellow onion sliced
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- 1 lime
- Put a large pot of salted water to boil. In the meantime, slice the onion and mince the garlic. Once the water comes to a boil, add the frozen yuca and let boil for 15 minutes.
- Drain the yuca and place in a baking dish or sheet.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- In a bowl or measuring cup, add the olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and let sit for a few minutes.
- Pour a third of the olive oil mixture over the yuca.
- Before putting in the oven, lightly cover with aluminum foil and cook covered for 15 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum foil and pour the remaining dressing. You may also spoon over any dressing at the bottom of the dish to avoid drying out the yuca. Put the yuca back in the oven and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Garnish the yuca with roughly chopped parsley and sprinkle some lime juice (optional).
A Traditional Favorite
Picadillo is one of those dishes that mean comfort in my culture. It’s very common for this dish to be prepared at least once a week in my home and you could find it as a daily special in almost any Cuban restaurant in Miami. It’s not only delicious but versatile. As you could see, I’ve added my picadillo into a convenient wrap making it great for taking to work for lunch. Traditionally, Picadillo is made with ground meat and browned with a “sofrito” mix. The base of Cuban sofrito starts with garlic, onion, and green peppers. It’s our version of the trinity mix I guess you could say. Then some prepared tomato sauce is added.
Updating the Tradition
Years ago, I switched over to using lean ground turkey instead of meat. This saves on fat and honestly, I like the lighter taste of the turkey much better. There is so much flavor that goes into this dish that you won’t even miss the meat. Add some slices of avocado on the side for some healthy fat and a simple dip made of sour cream and lime juice. I add a tiny squirt of sriracha for a kick so that avocado and sour cream help balance out the intense flavor of the picadillo.
As a kid, my mom served this dish over white rice with a side of black beans. To add some contrast and sweetness it was served with a sliced up banana. These savory and sweet flavors pair so well that every bite needed to have a heaping fill of all four ingredients. I can easily serve myself a huge dish and go back to those days as a kid but my version this recipe is portioned controlled in a low carb Tofuyon wrap.
To prep, I always begin with making the sofrito. I dice up the green onions and mince up the garlic. When I’m in a hurry or don’t have the patience to prepare the garlic, I use jarred minced garlic. Other than preparing the sofrito, I find it handy to have all the rest of the ingredients ready to with a measuring cup nearby.
Browning Ground Turkey and Adding Flavor with Sofrito
Everyone has a different way of doing this part. Some people cook the ground turkey and sofrito together. I prefer to let the meat brown first and then add the diced peppers, onions, and then add the garlic before I begin adding wet ingredients. This is just a personal preference.
Once I see the onions are translucent and green peppers are soft. I add in the garlic, a bay leaf, and the cumin. I give that a good mix and let the garlic sweat a bit before adding all the wet ingredients.
For the Brown Rice
I like to use a rice cooker to set it and forget it but make sure to add a few more teaspoons of water if you choose this method. Otherwise, the rice might be a bit crunchy. I used some chicken stock I had in the fridge for more flavor. I also added a Tablespoon of olive oil. For more flavor, you can add a crushed garlic clove as well.
Preparing the Black Beans
For this wrap, I used canned beans. During the week, I don’t have the time to soak and prepare black beans. Here is a great, quick and easy recipe for canned black beans here.
Plating the Turkey Picadillo Wrap
I’m really bad at wrapping burritos but I found a nice article from one of my favorite food blogs that tells you exactly how to wrap a burrito so that it doesn’t fall apart. For visual purposes you could see I put some effort into this one.
I love to eat with my eyes as much as I do with my mouth. For this wrap, I like to pair it with some slices of avocado. I’ll use whichever I have on hand, Hass or the larger variety. I like the more balanced taste of the avocado to compliment such a savory dish. Personally, I drizzle with some olive and sprinkle some salt but you may prepare it any way you like. Another way to balance the savory picadillo filling is by adding a dipping sauce. In this case, I simply prepared some sour cream mixed with a touch of lime juice and lemon zest.
Picadillo, in general, is very versatile. Other variations of this dish can be created in the form of empanadas or simply omitting the rice and beans and making the wrap with some diced potatoes instead. This would even pair well with cauliflower rice to go low-carb.
Let me know your thoughts and if you had any twists on this recipe. Enjoy!
Turkey Picadillo Wrap
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil extra virgin
- 1 Small to Medium Green Pepper diced
- 1 Small to Medium Onion diced
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 lb Lean Ground Turkey
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 Roma Tomato (Optional) diced, optional
- 1/4 cup Dry Cooking Wine Spanish, "Vino Seco"
- 1 8 oz. can Tomato Sauce
- dashes Worcestershire Sauce to taste
- dashes Srichacha to taste
- 1/4 cup Spanish Green Olives
- 1 cup Cooked Brown Basmati Rice
- 3/4 cup Prepared Black Beans
- 4 Low-Carb Wraps I used Tofuyan brand
- 1 Hass Avocado sliced
- 1/2 cup Low Fat Sour Cream
- 1 tbsp Lime Juice
- 1 tsp Lime Zest
- Prepare sofrito by dicing up the onion, green pepper and tomato if you like a chunkier texture
- Mince or chop the garlic (I used prepared minced garlic to save time)
- Start cooking rice if you don't have any prepared
- Make the black beans once all ingredients have been added to Picadillo to let simmer
- On large saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil and begin browning the turkey breaking up the larger pieces as they cook.
- When the ground turkey is cooked through, add the diced green peppers and onions. Mix in the green peppers and onions well and stir every couple of minutes until the onions and green peppers have softened.
- Once peppers and onions are tender, add the minced garlic, cumin, and a bay leaf. Stir and be careful not to let it burn. Cook the garlic for about 2-3 minutes. I noticed jarred garlic only needs 1-2 minutes.
- Add the dry cooking wine, can of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes (optional), a dash of Worcestershire, and a dash of sriracha. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix all the ingredients and let simmer for at least 20 minutes on med-low heat.
- About 5 minutes before serving, add some Spanish olives. Add a teaspoon of the juice for extra flavor. If the picadillo looks a bit dry, you may add a couple tablespoons of dry cooking wine and mix through.
Make the Wrap and Plate
- Turn the stove off and begin preparing your lime "crema". Place sour cream in a small bowl. Mix in a teaspoon of lime zest and the juice of half a lime. Mix well. You may choose to garnish with a few lime zests on top.
- As a side, slice up some avocado to serve with the turkey wrap. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt.
- On one side of the wrap, begin to layer some brown rice, the black beans, and picadillo filling. Wrap up the ingredients like a burrito. Here is a nifty little article with instructions on wrapping a perfect burrito. Then slice in half.