Enjoy Thanksgiving South-of-the-Border Style
One of the best parts about real estate in San Antonio is that you can get a lot of house for your money. So the dream kitchen, like the one in this 3 bed, 2 bath craftsman-style bungalow listed at $334,900 that your client has been dreaming of? That can actually become a reality right here in San Antone. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be cooking Thanksgiving in something like that next year. If that’s the case, you’ll need to elevate your menu to match your guests’ heightened expectations, and there’s no better way to do that than adding a little Mexican flair to your turkey with this Braised Turkey in Green Mole recipe originally sourced from Saveur Magazine.
Turkey in Mexican Cuisine Goes Way Back
The world-famous chef James Beard once wrote that the turkey, which has been domesticated in Mexico since 810 B.C.E., was to the Mexican people what beef is to Americans today. In fact, anthropologists believe that turkey has been part of the Native Mexican and American cuisine for well over 1500 years, so if you’re the adventurous home chef looking to put a Mexican twist on this year’s Thanksgiving feast, we’d say it’s more than appropriate to do so.
Braised Turkey in Green Mole
4 romaine lettuce leaves (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
3 medium radishes, trimmed and tops saved (the rest thinly sliced for garnish)
3⁄4 cup raw, shelled pumpkin seeds
1 1⁄2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
3⁄4 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
6 cups chopped cilantro leaves and stems
15 tomatillos (husked, washed, and chopped)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 small serrano peppers (stemmed and chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
1⁄2 cup olive oil
3 cups chicken stock
1 (10-12–lb.) turkey, cut into 8 pieces
Heat the peppercorns, pumpkin seeds, and cumin seeds over medium heat in a 12” cast-iron skillet until the seeds begin to pop. That should take about 1–2 minutes. Once finished, let the mixture cool slightly. Place the seeds in a spice grinder and pulse until finely ground. Add the Mexican oregano and set the mixture aside.
Next, place the cilantro, tomatillos, romaine, saved radish tops, garlic, serrano peppers, onion, and salt in a food processor, then purée that into a smooth paste, and set it aside.
Using high heat, heat half the oil in a 12-qt. saucepan. Carefully pour in the paste mixture and cook, stirring, until fragrant. That should take about 1 minute. After that, whisk in the chicken stock and bring the saucepan to a boil. Next, whisk in the seed mixture and remove from heat. Then let that cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer mole mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Once the mole is blended, press it through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.
Heat your oven to 350°. Season the cut turkey pieces generously with salt and pepper. Clean out the saucepan and add the remaining oil before applying medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the turkey on all sides, which should take about 20–25 minutes. Then transfer the turkey to a plate and set aside.
Return the mole purée to the saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Add the turkey pieces skin-side up. Partially cover with the lid. Lastly, put the saucepan in the oven and bake until turkey is completely cooked, meaning the meat thermometer registers 165° on the thickest part of the thigh. It should take 1.5–2 hours. Garnish with radish slices if you wish. Enjoy!
This flavorful spin on the typical turkey is sure to impress. As one reviewer put it, “This recipe made such a flavorful and moist turkey. Braising is the perfect solution to the ‘dry thanksgiving turkey’ issue.” And while we couldn’t have put it any better, we think it wouldn’t be complete without some jalapeño cornbread and a few Mexican mules. ¡Feliz Día de Gracias!
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