Serves 8

Pavo en Escabeche

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Adapted from Maria Concepcion Pacho, aka Doña Conchi

For the recado:

6 cloves, lightly toasted

3 allspice berries, lightly toasted

10 black peppercorns, lightly toasted

1½ teaspoons dried oregano  

¾ teaspoon of cumin seed, lightly toasted

1 2-inch piece of stick cinnamon

½ teaspoon sea salt

8 garlic cloves, whole peeled

20 mint leaves

1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder

¾ cup sour orange juice

For the turkey:

½ small turkey (5-6 pound), at room temperature (or equivalent bone-in pieces)

4 fresh Anaheim chiles

4 bay leaves

Salt


For the but (meatballs):

4 9-minute eggs, peeled

1 pound ground pork

½ small red onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded

3 tablespoons finely chopped mint

6 green olives, such as picholine, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Neutral oil


For the onion curtido (pickle):

1 red onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup sour orange juice

Salt

Warm corn tortillas for serving


 Use   Mexican oregano  , if you can find it. It has a stronger taste than Italian oregano that really defines this recado.

Use Mexican oregano, if you can find it. It has a stronger taste than Italian oregano that really defines this recado.

 Doña Conchi uses  yerba buena , or spearmint. Use it if you can find it!

Doña Conchi uses yerba buena, or spearmint. Use it if you can find it!

 Doña Conchi uses   Maggi brand  , but you can use any brand you like. I like  Better than Bouillon .

Doña Conchi uses Maggi brand, but you can use any brand you like. I like Better than Bouillon.

 If you can't get your paws on  sour (or Seville) oranges , you can substitute a mixture of 4 parts orange juice to 5 parts lime juice, which works out to the juice of about 1 orange and 2 1/2 limes.

If you can't get your paws on sour (or Seville) oranges, you can substitute a mixture of 4 parts orange juice to 5 parts lime juice, which works out to the juice of about 1 orange and 2 1/2 limes.

 Follow instructions for   Miso-Cured Eggs   but boil for 9 minutes.

Follow instructions for Miso-Cured Eggs but boil for 9 minutes.

 You can use the side of the blade of a chef's knife to smash the clove, then sprinkle a little salt over the  garlic . Press the side of the blade over the garlic, rubbing it back and forth over the cutting board until the garlic breaks down into a smooth paste.

You can use the side of the blade of a chef's knife to smash the clove, then sprinkle a little salt over the garlic. Press the side of the blade over the garlic, rubbing it back and forth over the cutting board until the garlic breaks down into a smooth paste.

 Same as above – use  spearmint  if you can find it!

Same as above – use spearmint if you can find it!

Make the recado: Place cloves, allspice, peppercorns, oregano, cumin seed, cinnamon and salt in a mortar or blender and grind finely.  Add garlic, mint, bouillon powder and orange juice and continue blending until you have a smooth, watery paste. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

Use your hands to rub recado over turkey.  Place in a stock pot or large (at least 6 quart) Dutch oven and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Doing your best to keep the egg yolks whole, separate the whites from the yolks. Set yolks aside and roughly chop whites.

Make the but: In a large bowl, use your hands to combine pork, onion, garlic, mint, olives, capers, salt, and pepper.  Add egg whites and continue mixing until mixture is tacky. Set a small frying pan over medium-high heat and add a teaspoon of oil. When it shimmers, cook off a quarter-sized piece of sausage mixture and taste. Adjust salt and pepper as needed, then cook and taste again. When the sausage mixture tastes well-seasoned, form the meatballs.

To form meatballs, take half of sausage mixture into the palm of one hand and pat it into a ½-inch thick oval. Place two egg yolks in the center and wrap mixture around yolks to create a torpedo-shaped meatball. Repeat with remaining sausage and yolks.  

Preheat broiler and lay Anaheim chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil chilies, rotating from time to time, until skins are evenly blistered and charred, about 20 minutes.  

Cook the turkey and but: Gently lay meatballs atop turkey and add roasted peppers and bay leaves to pot. Add enough water to barely submerge everything. Season broth lightly with salt, set pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust salt as needed, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45 to 60 minutes until breast and meatballs are cooked through. Remove and set aside, then continue simmering turkey leg until tender at the bone, about 15 to 30 minutes longer.

Make the curtido: In a small saucepot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil, then add onion and turn off heat. Let sit for 2 minutes, then drain. Place onion in a small bowl and add sour orange juice and salt to taste. Stir to combine and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

To serve, shred turkey and pile onto a platter, then moisten with a few spoonfuls of broth. Cut the but into slices to expose the golden yolks and arrange on platter next to turkey.  Serve with roughly chopped charred peppers, onion curtido, and warm tortillas.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 If you're unsure whether the  breast  is done, cook it until it registers 165°F (74°C) on a meat thermometer.

If you're unsure whether the breast is done, cook it until it registers 165°F (74°C) on a meat thermometer.

 If you can't tell  when the meat is cooked  by touching it, no sweat – just prick it with a paring knife and look! When the turkey breast and pork are no longer pink, they are done.

If you can't tell when the meat is cooked by touching it, no sweat – just prick it with a paring knife and look! When the turkey breast and pork are no longer pink, they are done.