Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Cooking hosted every week at Beth Fish Reads who writes:
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This week I am pleased to invite Fred Ramey, Co-Publisher of Unbridled Books (with Greg Michalson), to Caribousmom to share a favorite holiday recipe. He was a founding editor of BlueHen Books and, earlier, Arden Press as well as
Publisher and Executive Editor of MacMurray & Beck.
Fred Ramey’s Recipe
Here’s a recipe that evolved from one that appeared in The Tsil Café, by Thomas Fox Averill, the most delicious novel Greg and I ever published (BlueHen, 2001). I’d put it second in our list after St. Burl’s Obituary – M&B, 1996- because its menus are reachable in our kitchen. I should say that Greg was the editor for both of those scrumptious novels. In The Tsil Café, Wes, the 15-year-old protagonist creates a turkey mole for another restaurant as his first act of cooking rebellion from his father. In his father’s restaurant, only native American ingredients are allowed. But in Wes’s mole there are onions and garlic.
We’ve altered the recipe a bit around our house. But here are its basics. (You’ll need access to a Latino grocery; cooking time is about 3 hours.):
½ cup roasted peanuts
¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
6 or 8 ancho chiles
2 chipotle chiles
2 medium onions
One pound of tomatoes
All the cloves from a small head of garlic
2 teaspoons of achiote seeds (You can leave this out if you can’t find it.)
¼ cup Mexican cocoa (Abuelita’s is perfect, but any cocoa will do)
1½ teaspoons of cumin
3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla (though we prefer the meat from one vanilla bean)
Wes calls for a tablespoon of cider vinegar. The last time we made this, we used a tablespoon of Verjus from a Michigan vineyard, just because we had it. But how often does that happen?
Whatever parts of a turkey you want to use, enough for however many folks are coming to dinner.
Roast the peanuts and the sunflower seeds. They should be as dark as possible without burning. We use the toaster oven.
Stem and seed the chiles. Chop the onions. Halve the tomatoes. Peel the garlic. Run them all-including the peanuts and sunflower seeds-through a food processor until smooth.
Put the mixture into a large, wide pot on low heat. Add the spices and stir. When it’s bubbling, put in the turkey parts.
Cover and simmer for at least 2 hours; cooking until the meat falls from the bone and the sauce thickens. Dark meat takes longer. Stir often. If the sauce becomes too thick, add water-or turkey broth if you have that.
Serve over rice.
As Wes’s Maria Tito says, “Love others, comfort yourself.”