Yucatan Braised Turkey “Cochinita” Torta

By Chef Eric Lenard from the University of Washington


1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 Medium red onions, sliced thin

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

1 c sour cream

2 Canned chipotle peppers in adobo, mashed until smooth

1/2 tsp salt

1 Package frozen banana leaves, thawed

2 oz achiote paste

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp toasted cumin seed, crushed

2 tbsp ground garlic

1 tbsp sea salt

1 Large orange, juiced

1 Large lime, juiced

2 Strips orange peel

1/4 c olive oil

4 lbs TURKEY THIGHS *(See Note)

1 c black beans, soaked

2 to 3 c cold water

4 oz SMOKED TURKEY LEG, cut in chunks

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground garlic

1 Medium bay leaf

8 Crusty rolls, split

8 Slices red ripe tomatoes

1 Large bunch cilantro, washed and cut in 2-inch sprigs


Red Onion Relish

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy pan until almost smoking. Add the sliced onions and turn down the heat. Toss occasionally to prevent scorching.

When the onions are translucent, add the salt, sugar, vinegar and lime juice. Cook on lowest heat setting until all liquid evaporates.

Remove from the heat and cover. Chill for up to 2 days.

Chipotle Spread

Combine the sour cream, mashed chipotles and salt and hold, covered, cold for up to 2 days.

Turkey Cochinita

Line a heavy pan with the banana leaves.

Combine the achiote with the spices, salt, citrus and oil to make a marinade.

Rub the marinade into the turkey legs and layer into the lined pan and fold the banana leaves over the turkey. Cover with a heavy lid or foil. Marinate turkey overnight in the refrigerator.

Roast in a preheated 325 degree F conventional oven until turkey is very tender, about 2 hours.

Remove the bones and skin and shred the turkey. Reserve for service.

*NOTE: Four pounds turkey breast may be substituted for the thighs. If turkey breast is used, only roast the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F.

Black Bean Spread

While the turkey is roasting, cook the soaked black beans with the flavorings until tender.

Using a food processor, puree the strained beans and use the cooking liquid to thin it to a thick spread, about the texture of sour cream.

Hold warm for making the sandwich.


Coat the bottom of the split rolls with the black bean spread. Cover the top with the chipotle sour cream.

Divide the shredded turkey cochinita evenly among the sandwiches and stack on top of the black bean spread.

Top with slice tomatoes, red onion relish and cilantro sprigs.

Serve with fruit aqua frescas.

Nutrition Facts

Total Calories 600

Calories from Fat 190

Total Fat 21 g

% Daily Total Fat 32

Saturated Fat 7 g

% Daily Saturated Fat 35

Cholesterol 135 g

% Daily Cholesterol 45

Sodium 2050 mg

% Daily Sodium 85

Total Carbohydrates 55 g

% Daily Total Carbohydrates 18

Dietary Fiber 8 g

% Daily Dietary Fiber 32

Sugars 8 g

Protein 43 g

% Daily Protein 15

% Daily Vitamin C 30

% Daily Calcium 15

% Daily Iron 35