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Turkey Picadillo Tacos

By Chef John Ash

Picadillo is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries and the Philippines (where it is known as giniling). It is made with ground meat (usually beef), tomatoes, and other ingredients that vary by region. It is often served with rice or used as a filling in dishes such as tacos, savory pastries, empanadas, or served with chips and guacamole. It is one of the favorite recipes from my book “Culinary Birds” which is a James Beard award winner. A glass of the complex The Cutrer Chardonnay is a surprising and delicious match to this recipe.

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    Serves 6

    Total Time

    Prep Time

    Difficulty Level Medium


    4 tbs olive oil

    1.5 lbs ground dark meat turkey

    1 large onion, chopped

    3 cloves garlic, finely minced

    1 large poblano chile, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)

    1 tbs ancho chile powder

    2 tsp ground cumin

    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    1/4 tsp ground cloves

    1/2 C Red wine + additional as needed

    One 15-oz can tomatoes, chopped

    1/2 C golden raisins, plumped in hot water, drained

    6 pitted green olives, slivered (about 1/4 cup)

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper


    1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the ground turkey and brown over high heat. Set aside. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet and add the onion, garlic and poblano pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, over moderate heat.

    2. Return the turkey and its juices to the pan along with the ancho chile powder, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, wine, tomatoes, raisins and olives. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. If too dry, add a little red wine, a bit at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    3. Spoon warm picadillo onto fresh corn tortillas and top with any or all of the accompaniments. Accompaniments: cilantro sprigs, shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, lime wedges, sliced avocados and queso fresco or crema

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