Main dish: Pavo en Mole Negro (Turkey Breast in Black Mole Sauce)

Turkey Stock and Turkey:
  • 4-pound turkey breast
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 large Spanish onion, peeled and quartered
  • 5 sprigs of aromatic herbs of your choice
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • Water, to cover
Mole Sauce:
  • 1/4 pound each of dried pasilla negros chilies, mulatos chilies and ancho chilies (seeds removed and saved)
  • 5 cups hot turkey or chicken broth
  • 1 pound tomatillos
  • 1 pound tomatoes
  • 2 large ripe plantains, peeled and sliced
  • 4 Spanish onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup lard or corn oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1 bolillo or French roll
  • 4 stale corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds plus more toasted seeds, for garnish*
  • 2 dried avocado leaves or hoja santo leaves or 3 tablespoons chopped fennel bulb
  • 4 ounces almonds
  • 4 ounces peanuts
  • 4 ounces walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 5 whole cinnamon sticks (preferably Mexican)
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 dried allspice berries
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons leaf oregano
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 5 tablets (approximately 1 pound) hard Mexican chocolate (Ibarra or Abuelita brand recommended)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Salt, to taste
To make turkey and stock:

Place turkey breast, garlic, Spanish onions, aromatic herbs, bay leaves, peppercorns and enough water to cover all ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 50 minutes until turkey is tender and no longer pink in the middle. Remove turkey from stock, cover and refrigerate for later use. Strain the stock into a clean bowl and save for the Mole Sauce.

To make sauce: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chilies until fragrant, turning often so as not to burn. Add seeds from chilies and toast, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not burn. (Note: Use fewer seeds to reduce the heat of the sauce; add more to increase it.) Add both chilies and seeds to reserved turkey stock and soak 30 minutes until soft.

In a blender container or food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree stock mixture until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In the meantime, in a nonreactive large roasting pan place tomatillos, tomatoes, plantains, onions and garlic cloves. Toss in enough oil to lightly coat. Roast about 20 minutes until lightly charred and tender, turning occasionally. Add roll and tortillas in the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Set aside.

In the same cast-iron skillet used for the peppers, toast the 1/2 cup sesame seeds and avocado leaves or fennel over medium heat until seeds are golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Over medium temperature, heat 1/4 cup lard or oil in same skillet and fry the almonds, peanuts and walnuts a couple of minutes. Add raisins and remaining spices and the herbs, and cook 2 minutes until fragrant.

In a large blender container or food processor fitted with the metal blade, puree the roasted tomatillo mixture with the toasted seeds, bread, tortillas and fried ingredients.

Blend until completely smooth. Add leftover turkey broth 1/2 cup at a time if sauce becomes too thick.

In a large saucepan heat remaining lard or oil over medium heat and add blended ingredients. Cook 45 minutes stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Add chili puree and continue to cook over low heat 1 hour longer. Add Mexican chocolate and stir until dissolved. Add brown sugar and salt.

If sauce becomes too thick add more stock. Cool down and refrigerate until ready to use. (Sauce can be made up to three days in advance. Gently reheat.)

To serve, gently reheat turkey breast, slice and arrange on a platter. Pour mole over turkey and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Per serving: 1,172 calories, 43 percent calories from fat, 56 grams total fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 125 milligrams cholesterol, 110 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams total fiber, 71 grams total sugars, 95 grams net carbs, 68 grams protein, 270 milligrams sodium.

To toast sesame seeds: Place sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat and saute until golden, stirring regularly to prevent them from burning.

Adapted from chef Chris Fernandez of Red Mesa, St. Petersburg.