My Salvadorian mother-in-law taught me this recipe, and it's become our family's favorite. I want everyone to enjoy it like we do!

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Recipe Summary

prep:
25 mins
cook:
3 hrs 20 mins
total:
3 hrs 45 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
1 turkey
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place an oven rack in the topmost position and preheat oven on the broil setting. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

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  • Place tomatoes and bell pepper onto the baking sheet, cut-side down. Broil on top rack of preheated oven until the skins begin to blacken, about 5 minutes. Place charred vegetables into a bowl and seal with plastic wrap to steam until their skins loosen. Lower oven rack to accommodate a roasting pan, and turn oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

  • Meanwhile, pour vegetable oil into a roasting pan (or skillet large enough to fit the turkey), and place over medium-high heat. When hot, add the turkey and sear on all sides until browned, about 10 minutes. Once the turkey has been browned, place breast side up into the roasting pan, and stuff with quartered apples and olives. Set aside.

  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ancho chiles, pumpkin seeds, and bay leaves. Cook and stir until the pumpkin seeds begin to smell toasted, about 5 minutes, then pour the mixture into a blender.

  • Once the tomatoes and peppers have steamed enough that the skins have loosened, remove and discard the skins. Place tomatoes, green peppers, and onion into the blender with the pumpkin seeds. Blend until you have a thick, smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding a little liquid from the olives if desired.

  • Brush the sauce onto the turkey, and place into preheated oven. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F (80 degrees C), about 3 hours, basting occasionally.

Cook's Note

We use the leftovers from this turkey to make Turkey-Curtido Sandwiches. They are really messy, but really yummy and totally worth the work.

Nutrition Facts

662 calories; protein 79.3g; carbohydrates 7.9g; fat 33.3g; cholesterol 223.5mg; sodium 471.5mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (8)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
01/04/2010
instead of buying the ancho chilis and pumpkin seeds and bay leaves seperatly go to your neighborhood hispanic food store and ask for "RELAJO" It has everything you need as far as seasonings goes all in one packet. Just add to blender with roasted tomatoes and Green Peppers for a yummy authentic Salvadorian Sauce. This Sauce can also be used for the Panes con Chumpe or turkey sandwiches. From my experience this sauce always taste better the next day. Read More
(35)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
10/17/2017
Oh boy they're teaching gueros how to make this stuff now. Good thing you didn't get knowledge of the secret ingredient. There's a reason my abuelita had the best turkey and the best curtido in Quetzaltepeque. Enjoy your white meat. Read More
(1)
10 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 5
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
01/04/2010
instead of buying the ancho chilis and pumpkin seeds and bay leaves seperatly go to your neighborhood hispanic food store and ask for "RELAJO" It has everything you need as far as seasonings goes all in one packet. Just add to blender with roasted tomatoes and Green Peppers for a yummy authentic Salvadorian Sauce. This Sauce can also be used for the Panes con Chumpe or turkey sandwiches. From my experience this sauce always taste better the next day. Read More
(35)
Rating: 5 stars
10/02/2009
Made this recipe multiple times. I broil the green peppers and tomato while I put 1 can stewed tomatoes 1/2 yellow onion 1 ancho chile pepper pumpkin seeds in blender. the skins come right off the tomato when they are done under broiler and I am not to picky on taking the skins off the pepper. I add a little oregano and then blend it. when that is done I season the turkey with season all salt and a little cumin. sear the turkey and put in roasting dish. pour salsa over turkey making sure to cover it all then spoon pimento stuffed green olives over the turkey. drop in 2 bay leaves. cover and cooked turkey amount of time that the packaging it came in said usually around 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Super moist and super yummy. served over rice with extra sauce or in the turkey curtido sandwich (recipe on this sight). We clean the sauce from our plate with french bread or warm tortillas. Once you get the hang of making the salsa this recipe is quick. You can also marinate the turkey overnight in the sauce. it lets the sauce soak into the turkey a little. Read More
(24)
Rating: 5 stars
01/28/2010
This was a wonderful change from the usual roast turkey! Everyone at our luncheon loved it. I slow roasted it overnight in a 250 degree electric roaster and served the olives on the side instead of cooking them with the turkey and had additional sauce from the bottom of the pan in a gravey boat for those who want more. I wasn't sure about the green olives with this but they seemed to be what made it outstanding! This will be my standard roast turkey recipe from now on. No more boring roast turkey around here! Read More
(11)
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Rating: 4 stars
11/19/2007
We tried this on a turkey breast to try out the recipe. I had to guess at the amounts but it made a very delicious tasting turkey. We plan to make it again this Thursday for our "slightly untraditional" Thanksgiving. A bit of work but very yummy. I used purchased roasted pumpkin seeds - in shells. This time when I shopped there were ones w/ no shells but barring opening up a pumpkin I could not find raw seeds. Thanks for the recipe! Read More
(10)
Rating: 3 stars
10/17/2017
Oh boy they're teaching gueros how to make this stuff now. Good thing you didn't get knowledge of the secret ingredient. There's a reason my abuelita had the best turkey and the best curtido in Quetzaltepeque. Enjoy your white meat. Read More
(1)
Rating: 4 stars
11/21/2015
I make this turkey every Thanksgiving since I found it - though with modifications (I don't use the apples/olives to stuff it though I might this year as I'm pre-cooking my stuffing and I don't sear the turkey mine are always too big). Someone asked about this in a fryer - The basting sauce would pretty much come right off of it if fried though I'm not sure if there's a way you could add the salsa UNDER the skin versus pouring over. I don't know if that would be "fryer safe " you should check instructions. This makes a pretty crispy skinned turkey. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
11/03/2018
So easy and so delish my family loves it. I have been using this recipe for about the last 5 yrs. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
11/09/2020
This is missing the secret ingredient.... the gizzards! Cook them along with the turkey as stated in the recipe, when fully cooked remove them and blend them with the juices from the pan, baste turkey well with it and pour the rest back into the pan to cook. It may sound different but so worth it Read More
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