Turkey Chile Verde

Chile verde made with turkey thigh meat and homemade tomatillo salsa verde.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours
  • Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients

Salsa verde:

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh green tomatillos
  • 5 cloves garlic, peel ON
  • 1 jalapeno, stems and seeds removed, chopped*
  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, rinsed, roughly chopped, including stems
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • Pinch sugar

Turkey:

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless turkey thighs**
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of ground cloves

* You can moderate the heat of this dish with the seeds from the jalapenos. Taste the tomatillo sauce after you blend it. If it needs more heat, blend in some of the jalapeno seeds.

** If you can only get bone-in, skin-on, that's okay. Remove the skin and discard or save it to use it to make turkey bacon. Cut as much meat as you easily can away from the bone, and then cook the meaty bone with the turkey chunks. Remove the bone when the meat is cooked and shred the meat from the bone.

Method

1 Roast the poblano chiles: Roast the poblano chiles over a gas burner or under a broiler, until blackened almost all over. Place chiles in a paper bag, close the bag, and let the chiles steam in their own heat for a few minutes.

Remove the chiles from the bag, remove the charred skin, the stem and the seeds. (For a step-by-step, see How to roast chile peppers over a gas flame.)

2 Broil the tomatillos: Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos. Rinse the tomatillos with water (they may be a little sticky).

Slice the tomatillos in half and place cut-side-down on a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil. Toss the garlic cloves (peel on) in with the tomatillos.

Cook under a broiler until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool to the touch, then remove the garlic cloves from their skins.

halved tomatillos cut side down on roasting tray roasted tomatillos for chile verde

3 Make the salsa verde: Place tomatillos, garlic, jalapeño, poblanos, cilantro, salt, lime juice, and sugar in a blender. Start on a low speed and then increase the blender speed and purée until smooth. Set aside (can make a day ahead and refrigerate until needed).

salsa verde ingredients in blender blend salsa verde for turkey chile verde

4 Prepare the turkey thigh meat: Cut the turkey thigh meat into 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunks, cutting away and discarding any tough gristly bits or big pieces of fat. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

turkey meat for chile verde

5 Brown the turkey: Heat olive oil in a large (6 to 8 qt) Dutch oven or high-sided sauté pan on medium high or high heat (hot enough to sear the meat).

Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan (a crowded pan will make it harder for the meat to brown), sear the chunks of turkey on all sides (do not stir the meat in the pan until they have browned well). Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

brown turkey meat for chile verde

6 Sauté onions, add garlic: Add the chopped onion and the cumin to the pot, and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).

Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds more.

saute onions for turkey chile verde

7 Add turkey, tomatillo sauce, stock, spices to pot: Return the turkey to the pot. Add the tomatillo sauce and the chicken stock.

Add the chipotle powder, oregano, bay leaves, and ground clove. Add a teaspoon of salt, and a little freshly ground black pepper.

add salsa verde to browned turkey in pan for chile verde

8 Simmer 3 to 4 hours: Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to low (enough to maintain a low simmer), while the pot stays uncovered. Cook for 3 to 4 hours, uncovered, until the turkey is tender.

If at some point you think that too much liquid is going to evaporate, cover the pan. Otherwise keep it uncovered. You want the sauce to become more concentrated. Adjust seasonings to taste. You may need to add more salt than you would expect.

Serve in a bowl, with chopped fresh cilantro, and sides such as chopped avocado, thinly sliced lettuce that has been seasoned with vinegar and salt, sliced radishes, thinned sour cream or crema fresca, and with fresh heated tortillas or tortilla chips. Or serve with rice and beans, or wrapped up in a large flour tortilla, burrito style.