Turkey with Oaxacan Black Molé


1 (8 to 10 lb) WHOLE TURKEY, cut into 12 serving pieces

1 Large white onion, sliced

3 to 4 Cloves garlic, crushed

1 Large bay leaf

1 tbsp salt

1 lb tomatoes

4 Dried whole pasilla chiles

4 Dried whole mulato chiles

12 to 16 Dried whole guajillo chiles

1/4 c unsalted raw peanuts

1/3 c blanched almonds

1/4 c sesame seeds

3 tbsp dried Mexican oregano or marjoram

2 Whole cloves

4 Whole allspice berries

1-Inch piece cinnamon stick

1/2 c corn oil

1 Large white onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped garlic

1 Heaping tbsp raisins

2 Ripe plantains, sliced

1 Large corn tortilla, broken into pieces

2 (1/2-inch thick) slices white bread, cubed

2 oz Mexican chocolate

1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt




Place the turkey pieces, onion, garlic, bay leaf and salt in a large stockpot with a tight fitting lid. Fill the stockpot with cold water to just cover all ingredients, stir well. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil, immediately decrease heat to medium-low.

Cover and simmer gently for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until the turkey is tender when pierced with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, skim off foam as it accumulates and occasionally turn turkey pieces with a large spoon.


Preheat grill or broiler. Place tomatoes on grill rack and cook, turning often, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the skins are slightly blackened and blistered. Remove from heat and cool.

When cool enough to handle, peel tomatoes and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pasilla, mulatto and guajillo chiles on a baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, until soft and pliant. Do not overcook.

Transfer chiles to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard chile stems. Scrape out and reserve seeds.

Place chiles in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

Place peanuts and almonds on a baking sheet and toast in oven, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Place a heavy sauté pan over high heat and add reserved chili seeds. Toast in dry pan, stirring and tossing for 5 to 7 minutes, until blackened.

Transfer seeds to a bowl and cover with water. Soak for 4 to 5 minutes and then pass through a fine-mesh sieve to remove water.

Drain chiles and place in a blender with toasted chile seeds. Process until smooth, using broth from the cooked turkey to thin the mixture, if necessary. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve.

Combine sesame seeds, oregano, cloves, allspice and cinnamon in a dry sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes, until toasted. Transfer to a spice mill and grind to a fine powder.

Heat oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened but not browned. Add tomato puree and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add peanuts, almonds, spice powder, raisins and plantains. Decrease heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes.

In small batches, transfer to a blender and process to a smooth, thick sauce, using broth from the cooked turkey to thin the mixture, if necessary.

Return the tomato puree to the sauté pan over medium heat. Add chile puree, tortilla, bread, chocolate, salt and 4 to 5 cups of turkey broth. Simmer, stirring frequently to keep the sauce from sticking, for about 30 minutes, to make a thick, pourable sauce. Adjust the consistency with additional turkey broth, if necessary. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

With an immersion blender or in very small batches in a blender, puree until very smooth. The finished sauce should be thick enough to richly coat the pieces of turkey.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary. Return sauce to a large sauté pan over medium heat.


Using a slotted spoon, transfer turkey pieces to the sauce. Heat well for about 15 minutes, adjusting consistency of the sauce by increasing the heat to high and reducing if it is too thin or adding broth if it is too thick.

Plate turkey pieces and sauce on warm dinner plates and pass extra sauce on the side.