Mexican turkey in a dark spice sauce: Chilmole from the Yucatan

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

A traditional and delicious Mexican dish, chilmole — sometimes called relleno negro — is made from one of the classic recados, or seasoning combinations. This dish, said to have originated in Campeche, is eaten all over the Yucatan peninsula, especially around Christmas and the New Year, when there is an abundance of leftover holiday turkey. It is a nice change from the usual round of enchiladas, tacos, tostadas, and other leftover turkey dishes. Make the recado now, and freeze it for use during the busy holiday season.

You don’t have to tell anyone how easy it is.

For the recado

  • 2 tablespoons achiote seeds
  • 3/4 cup bitter orange juice (or a mixture of sweet orange juice and fresh lime juice)
  • 2 lbs. dried ancho chiles, seeded and deveined
  • 2 large whole cloves
  • 4 large whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 head garlic, peeled (about 10 large cloves)
  • salt to taste

Place the achiote seeds in a small bowl, pour the juice over them, and allow to soak 2-3 hours.

Toast the chiles just until they give off their fragrance, soak them in hot water until they soften, and drain them well.

Place all ingredients in a spice mill or food processor and process until they are well blended. They should form a thick paste, the consistency of a chilled cookie dough.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

For the chilmole

  • 6 cups leftover cooked turkey, skinned and boned
  • 8 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • 2 oz. recado negro (above)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

Heat the turkey in the broth.

Mix the recado with a bit of broth to dissolve it, add it to the turkey and broth, and cook to desired consistency. (It usually has the texture of a medium-thin mole.) serve in bowls, garnished with hard-boiled egg slices.

Slices of a homemade pork sausage called but are sometimes served as an additional garnish, but the dish is rich enough without it.

Accompany with plenty of hot tortillas.

Serves 6.

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Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Karen Hursh Graber © 2006
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