This traditional Cuban dish puts a little twist on comfort food.

I’d like to go straight to the recipe please.

Never heard of Picadillo? It’s a staple at-home Cuban meal that pretty much sums up the necessary requirements for comfort food: meat, potato, warm spices. It’s kind of like bunless sloppy joe’s, but with potatoes, olives and raisins giving it a “one pot meal” of salty and sweet.


For mine, I used sweet potatoes, because “they” (the food powers that be) say that sweet potatoes are better for you, and I think the touch of extra sweetness plays really well with the raisins. (And now I’m having a chuckle at the thought of sweet potatoes playing with raisins.)


All the picadillo recipes out there suggest serving it with tostones, a caribbean dish of twice-fried plantains. But crap, what a load of work and grease splatter. Instead, mainly for the pictures, I bought some plantain chips at the store and served it with brown rice. Feel free to make some tostones if you feel so inclined, but if pan frying bananas ain’t your thang it goes very well with plain rice.


Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Website My Big Fat Cuban Family


  • 2lb Ground elk or venison
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1/2 or 1 small green bell pepper (diced)
  • 2 cans 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 heaping cup green olives
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large sweet potato (diced)


Step 1
Heat the oil in a pan or dutch oven on medium heat and add the onion with the cumin, oregano and a little salt and pepper. Once translucent, add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to cook until the pepper is al dente, about 2-3 minutes.
Step 2
Add the ground meat, a little more salt and pepper and brown the meat. Then add the sweet potato and white wine, cover and simmer about 5-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost done. Then add the tomato sauce and raisins and simmer uncovered on medium-low until the raisins plump up (another 2-3 minutes).
Step 3
Stir in the olives. Continue to cook, if needed, until the potatoes are completely cooked and the sauce has reduce slightly. Serve with tostones and/or rice.
Non-game substitution: Pretty much any ground meat will work wonderfully with this recipe.
Vegetarian substitution: None here. This dish is kind of all about the meat! (But you could probably scrape together some vegetarian “meat crumbles” and give it a go if you really want to.)

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2 Comments on "Venison Recipe: Picadillo"

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Mama Lou

What an interesting, flavorful dish! I wonder if you could make a vegetarian substitution by just adding other fresh veggies such as zucchini, yellow squash, chopped tomato, and maybe a cubed Yukon gold along with the sweet potato. It’s the olive-cumin-oregano-raisin combination that gives it that warm, sweet-savory carribean flavor.


[…] food. You can also include olives. In fact, this would be a great way to reconstitute leftover Picadillo, as I found several recipes where you basically just made that and used it as a […]