Chile-Rubbed Turkey with Beet Stuffing and Gravy

  • Serves

    serves 10-12


New Mexico and arbol chiles create a sauce similar to a mole that coats the turkey, while adding spice and depth. This recipe first appeared in our November 2012 issue along with Javier Cabral's story Meat of the Matter.

What You Will Need


  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 16 cloves garlic
  • 8 ribs celery
  • 5 medium carrots
  • 3 bunches scallions, minced
  • 2 lb. roasted beets, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 6 oz. pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 20 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 8 dried chiles de arbol, stemmed
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 8 Saltine crackers
  • 1 (16-lb.) turkey, thawed, neck and giblets reserved
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup flour
  • 8 cups chicken or turkey stock


Step 1

Make the stuffing: Heat 4 tbsp. butter in a 12" skillet, over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook, stirring, until well-browned, about 10 minutes. Finely chop half the garlic, 5 ribs celery, and 3 carrots, and add to skillet along with scallions; cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; add beets, olives, corn, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to a 9" x 13" baking dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 2

Make the chile sauce: Place both chiles in a bowl; cover with boiling water, and let sit until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 cups soaking liquid, and transfer chiles to a blender with remaining garlic, cumin, cloves, crackers, and 2 cups soaking liquid. Puree until smooth; set aside.

Step 3

Heat oven to 450°. Arrange neck and giblets on the bottom of a large roasting pan; place turkey, breast side up, in pan. Season with salt and pepper and rub with remaining butter; roast until skin is golden brown, about 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 350°, pour chile sauce over turkey, and cook, basting every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thighs reads 165°, about 2 hours. Transfer turkey to a cutting board; set aside. Pour pan drippings through a fine strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Meanwhile, place stuffing in oven; cook until golden browned on top, about 30 minutes; set aside.

Step 4

Meanwhile, make the gravy: Return 1 cup fat from the drippings to pan and place over two burners of the stove; heat over medium-high heat. Roughly chop remaining celery and carrots, and add to skillet along with onion; cook, stirring, until soft, about 15 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring, until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add stock; boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring, until gravy thickens, about 15 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a serving bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Serve turkey with stuffing and gravy on the side.

Watch How to Carve a Turkey

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