Braised Turkey in Green Mole

  • Serves

    serves 8-10


Deconstructed turkey braised in a refreshing green mole provides a light and quick alternative to the standard Thanksgiving bird. This recipe, developed by chef Mary Sue Milliken, first appeared in the iPad edition of our November 2013 issue with the article State of Grace.

What You Will Need


  • 34 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 12 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 34 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • 6 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 15 tomatillos, husked, washed, and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium radishes, trimmed and tops reserved, radishes thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 2 small serrano peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (10-12–lb.) turkey, cut into 8 pieces


Step 1

Heat pumpkin seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns in a 12” cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until seeds begin to pop, 1–2 minutes; let cool slightly. Place in a spice grinder and pulse until finely ground; add oregano and set seed mixture aside. Place cilantro, tomatillos, garlic, romaine, reserved radish tops, serrano peppers, onion, and salt in a food processor. Purée into a smooth paste; set aside.

Step 2

Heat half the oil in a 12-qt. saucepan over high heat. Carefully pour in paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in seed mixture and remove from heat; let cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer mole mixture to a blender and purée until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing on and discarding solids; set aside.

Step 3

Heat oven to 350°. Season turkey pieces with salt and pepper. Wipe out saucepan and heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown turkey on all sides, 20–25 minutes. Using tongs, transfer turkey to a plate and set aside. Return mole to saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add turkey pieces, skin side up, and partially cover with lid. Transfer to oven and bake until turkey is cooked through and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°, 1 1⁄2–2 hours. Garnish with radish slices for serving, if you like.

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