For the turkey meat:
- 2 teaspoons high heat cooking oil
- 1 each carrot, celery rib, small onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
- One 2 X 1” thumb ginger, roughly chopped
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon each: whole clove, cumin, allspice and dried red chile flake
- Peel from one medium lime
- Handful of mint and cilantro
- 4 cups water, unsalted chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 whole turkey legs, bone-in, skinned
In a large pot or small stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and ginger to the oil and stir to coat. Add the dried spices and fresh herbs and stir. Add water or broth and turn heat up to high. When liquid has come to a high simmer, add the turkey legs. Return to a boil, skim any scum that rises and cover with lid. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until legs have registered an internal temperature of 135 F. Remove the turkey legs from the broth and set aside. Strain broth and discard vegetables and seasonings. Return the broth to high heat and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the sauce:
- 2 dried guajillo ancho chiles
- 4 dried mulato chiles
- 3 dried pasilla chiles
- 2 dried chipotle chiles
- 1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced into “half moons”
- 2 whole tomatoes, cored and sliced lengthwise into 1” pieces
- 1 ripe plantain or green banana, peeled and cut into 1”pices
- Canola oil
- 1/3 cup almonds, chopped
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup currants or raisins
- 2 corn tortillas, torn
- Canola oil or lard
- 2 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Either tear or trim off the stems of chiles. Heat a comal or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sear them on both sides until they are well darkened and smoke begins to rise from the skin. Remove them to a heatproof bowl and cover with foil or a plate. Set aside.
Turn oven onto broiler setting and place the rack 4” from the heat source. Place onion, tomatoes, banana or plantain on baking sheet and brush with them with a bit of oil. Broil them in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until very dark (they will look nearly burnt). While broiling, heat almonds in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly toasted. Add the sesame seeds to the pan and roast them together with the almonds, tossing frequently, until golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from oven and set aside.
Remove chiles from their soaking water and put them in a food processor or blender with a cup of the chiles’ soaking water. Puree until very well blended. Turn puree out into a bowl. Next, puree the roasted ingredients, seeds, nuts and tortillas, using enough of the poaching stock to make the ingredients come together uniformly (approximately a cup). Puree until very smooth. Combine this mixture with the pureed chiles and blend well.
In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stockpot, heat lard or canola oil until it shimmers. Add the sauce to the pan and “fry” the sauce in the fat over medium-high heat until it begins to darken in color. Add the chocolate and stir it in well. Follow with salt. Add remaining chile soaking liquid and 2 cups of the turkey poaching broth. Add spices and stir well. Add the turkey legs to the pot, submerging them in the sauce as much as possible. Cover with a lid and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes or until the turkey easily shreds off the bone.
Remove the turkey legs from the sauce and shred them from the bone with a fork or tongs. Return the meat to the sauce or serve the meat and sauce separately. Serves 6-8.