Pavo en Pipian Verde (Turkey in Pumpkin Seed Sauce-green mole)

This is the fresh mole, that’s what I’m calling it because of A tangy, tomatillo-based sauce, thickened with toasted pumpkin seeds, it’s served with everything from chicken to fish and seafood.

Again, the recipe is based on Rick Bayless’ book, Mexico-One Plate at a Time, I only substituted turkey for chicken. The recipe is pretty straightforward, though there are a few steps to follow. As with the recipe for red mole, you can substitute uncooked turkey with your cooked leftovers. Simply prepare the sauce to completion, then add the cooked meat to heat through.

Pavo en Pipián Verde

1 turkey breast or 4 thighs (about 4lbs)
1 small white onion, sliced, divided use
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved, divided use
1/2 tsp each dried marjoram and thyme
3 bay leaves
Salt to taste
1-1/4 cps hulled, untoasted pumpkin seeds
5-6 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 large romaine lettuce leaves, torn into large pieces
2 serranos or 1 jalapeño, stemmed, roughly chopped
Leaves from a small sprig of epazote, plus an additional sprig for garnish
1/2 cp loosely packed chopped cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1-1/2 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil
2 medium chayotes
2 medium zucchini

Poach the turkey: In a stock pan, add 10 cups water, half onion, 2 garlic cloves, marjoram, thyme, bay leaves and about 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to boil. Add the turkey, reduce heat to simmer. Simmer uncovered over medium heat for 20 minutes. Cover pot and let stand off heat for another 30 minutes. Remove turkey from pot. Strain broth and skim off fat that rises to top (can be done 1 day ahead).

Prepare sauce: In a saucepan, Dutch oven or cazuela (a traditional Mexican earthenware casserole with a lid), dry-toast pumpkin seeds. Set pot over medium heat, add the seeds and, when the first seed pops, stir constantly until all have popped from flat to round, about 5 minutes. Don’t let them darken past golden or the sauce will be brownish and slightly bitter. Cool. Set aside 3 tablespoons for garnish and transfer rest to blender.

Add remaining onion and garlic to blender, along with tomatillos, lettuce, chiles, epazote leaves and chopped cilantro. Pour in 1 cup of strained broth; cover and blend to smooth puree (can be done 1 day ahead).

In In the same pot you toasted the seeds, heat oil over medium-high heat. When hot enough to make a drop of puree sizzle sharply, add it all at once. Stir as mixture darkens slightly and thickens considerably, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 more cups broth, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 20 minutes for flavors to mellow and sauce to thicken to medium consistency (it should coat spoon). Be careful, this is another spitty sauce.

While sauce is simmering, prepare the veggies. Peel the chayote and remove the seed. You may want to do this under running water as chayote has a sap that will stick to your hands and make them turn black. Cube the chayote after peeled, then blanch the vegetables in salted boiling water, cooking chayote about 3 minutes, then adding zucchini for 1 minute. Drain and spread vegetables on plate to stop cooking.

When sauce has simmered 20 minutes, it will likely look coarse. Smooth it to a velvety texture by reblending it in small batches (loosely covered to avoid blender explosions). Return sauce to pan, taste and season with salt, if needed, about 3/4 teaspoon. If sauce has thickened beyond a light cream-sauce consistency, thin it with a little remaining broth.

Remove skin from cooked turkey, if desired, cube and slip into sauce, then add cooked vegetables. Simmer over medium heat just long enough to heat everything, about 5 minutes, then spoon turkey, vegetables and sauce out onto warm serving platter. Sprinkle with reserved pumpkin seeds (you may want to crush them), decorate with sprigs of epazote and cilantro.

For the full mole action, check out the photostream.

Cookingly yours,


One thought on “Pavo en Pipian Verde (Turkey in Pumpkin Seed Sauce-green mole)

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