Turkey With Three Sauces

Brown Sauce (Traditional Mole with Chocolate)
Red Sauce (with Red Chili)
Green Sauce (with Tomatilloes and Green Chilis)
Turkey served three ways

Turkey for Christmas

We've been experimenting with heritage breed turkeys for some while now. They are so much better than ordinary turkeys, including organic birds, that always buy our birds at Heritage Foods. This Christmas, we decided to have a traditional turkey with three Mexican style sauces. We cracked a few cookbooks while the bird was roasting and came up with two old favorites and one new sauce. Their colors were red, green and dark brown, as you can see in the photo to the left.

Which was our favorite? Probably the green sauce, but the other two were also quite excellent. As proof, they were all eaten. As we like to say Chez Kaleberg, they are now strictly an internal matter.

(If you make a real dark brown chocolate mole sauce, you can probably get away calling this a Kwanzaa dish. The colors would be red, green and almost black. Of course, it would be a Mexican Kwanzaa dish, but the idea is that it tastes good.)

Red Chili Sauce

This is our version of the versatile red sauce from the cookbook Feast of Santa Fe. This is an easy to make sauce, that is, if you have a blender or food processor. You can use any variety of red chili powder in making this sauce depending on how you want it to taste. If you like a fiery sauce, go for the hottest chili powder you can find. We often use three parts guajillo and one part chipotle chili powder. The former is mild, but gives a lot of flavor. The latter is much hotter, and it gives the sauce a smokiness. As for the tomatoes, we just use one of those large 28 ounce supermarket cans, so two pounds is just an approximation. For those in the know, that's a size 2 1/2 can. (Did you now that the standard can sizes are numbered? We didn't either, but we found out thanks to the internet.)



  1. Puree the onion and garlic in food processor (or blender).
  2. Add the chili, cumin, oregano and canned tomatoes without their liquid. Puree in the food processor.
  3. Put the pureed mixture and the remaining tomato liquid into a sauce pan with a cover. Cover it and bring it to a boil. The puree is pretty messy when it boils, so be careful when you open the cover.
  4. Once the pot starts boiling, lower the heat to a simmer, and let it cook for 10 minutes.

Green Chili and Tomatillo Sauce

This sauce is based on one of the recipes in the Feast of Santa Fe, but we played around with it a bit. It is based on tomatillos and green chilis which you can use in a variety of mixtures as long as your total comes in between one and two pounds. We just used what we had in the house which was a mixture of a pound of tomatilloes, a few anaheim chilis and a fistful of dried green chilis (chile pasado, available here). The tomatilloes give a tartness, so you can vary your ratio from 0% to 100% accordingly.



  1. If you aren't using any fresh green chilis, skip this step. Cut the green chilis in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Lay them out on a pizza tray close to the broiler. Broil them, full force, until they blister. (You can flame roast them if you want, but we use our oven.) Let them cool, then peel them under cold water.
  2. If you aren't using any tomatilloes, skip this step. Remove the husks from the tomatilloes. Cook the tomatilloes in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Sautee the onions until they are translucent.
  4. Add the flour and stir to coat the onions.
  5. Add the cumin, oregano and garlic and stir together briefly.
  6. Add the broth and stir to make a thick sauce. You might want to add the broth a half cup at a time and use a whisk to stir it in, but we just dump it all in and whale away with a fork. In either case, the sauce should thicken nicely.
  7. Lower the heat to a simmer. Chop up and add the tomatilloes and green chilis. Add any dried green chilis you might be using. Cook together for about five minutes.
  8. Add butter to taste, stirring so it melts in.

Traditional Chocolate Mole

This recipe is basically the recipe in the cookbook Larouse Treasury of Country Cooking. That's a great cookbook with recipes from all over the world. It's a great introduction to a broad range of country cooking. This sauce is one of our favorites. It uses unsweetened chocolate, so we use a very bitter rain forest friendly Ecuadorian chocolate. We're weird. We'll often eat that stuff straight, but it makes for a great savory sauce. (You can use ordinary Baker's chocolate, but we prefer to use a premium chocolate for that extra kick.)



  1. Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. Add the sesame seeds and toss them around with a fork until they are toasted.
  2. Add the oil or lard. Add the chopped onions and cook until they are soft.
  3. Add everything else except the tomatoes: the garlic, the raisins, the cinnamon, the cumin, the ground cloves, the anise seeds, the chili powder and the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes soften and can be mixed in with the other ingredients.
  4. Add the turkey broth. Cook, stirring, for about ten minutes.
  5. You can actually serve the sauce now, but we like to smooth it out in our food processor.

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