Relleno Negro (Black Turkey Stew)

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 35 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 2 hr 10 min
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate


  • 20 chile de arbol
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 6 1/2-pound/3 kg turkey
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 3 hard-cooked eggs (separate whites and yolks)
      • 1 raw egg
      • A few sprigs epazote, chopped
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        Cook's Notes: Epazote resembles mint and tarragon. You can substitute tarragon.

        You can also do this recipe with a whole chicken instead of the turkey and reduce the cooking time.

        For the recado negro paste: Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

        In a skillet over high heat, char the arbol chiles until black on all sides, about 5 minutes.

        Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute the garlic and onions until translucent. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 5 minutes. Set aside.

        In a blender, blend the charred chiles with the coarse salt, cumin, allspice, cloves, garlic and oregano. Add a little water and blend until a paste forms. Remove from the blender and pour into the pot of boiling water. Add the tomato mixture and the turkey. Let simmer until the turkey is fall-off-the-bone tender, about 2 hours.

        For the "boot": Mix the meat with the garlic, onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the cooked egg whites, raw egg and epazote. Form a large meatball with the cooked egg yolks in the middle. Wrap and bind in cheesecloth. Add to the broth during the last hour of cooking the turkey.

        Remove the "boot" and unwrap the cheesecloth. Cut into slices. Remove the turkey, and carve. Serve one slice of the "boot" with a few pieces of turkey and spoon over some of the recado negro paste. Eat with tortillas.

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