Mexican Turkey Drumstick Mole

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

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For the poached drumsticks:
6 cups lower-salt chicken broth, more as needed
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and each studded with 4 whole cloves
6 medium unpeeled cloves garlic
6 whole allspice berries
4 fresh or dried bay leaves
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. black peppercorns
2 tsp. coriander seeds
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel or aniseed
One 4-inch cinnamon stick
4 large turkey drumsticks (about 3 lb. total)

For the mole sauce:
3 ancho chiles
3 mulato chiles
3 guajillo chiles
1/3 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole toasted almonds
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
3 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded (about 1 cup), or 1 cup canned seeded tomatoes, preferably Muir Glen
2 corn tortillas, cut into 6-inch strips
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 medium cloves garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground fennel or aniseed
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
3 Tbs. olive oil or vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Poach the drumsticks:
In a large (8-quart) Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, combine the broth, onions, garlic, and spices. Add the drumsticks and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the meat is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. During cooking, add broth as needed to keep the drumsticks submerged, and turn them over from time to time. Transfer the drumsticks to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool. Strain the broth and save. Discard any solids.

When the legs are cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard. Pull the meat from the bones and remove any sinews. Leave the meat in the largest chunks possible and set aside in a large bowl.

Make the mole sauce:
Tear the chiles into large pieces, discarding the stems and seeds.

In a large (12-inch), dry, heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat, toast the chiles, turning them frequently, for 10 to 15 seconds. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, add the raisins, cover with 3 cups boiling water, and soak for at least 30 minutes or until soft.

Drain the chiles and raisins. Set aside 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid and combine the remaining liquid with the turkey broth.

Put the almonds and chocolate in a food processor and pulse several times to finely grind them. Add the chiles and raisins, the reserved 1/2 cup of chile liquid, and the tomatoes, tortillas, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, fennel, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Process until smooth.

In a large (8-quart) Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chile mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until it darkens and becomes quite thick, about 8 minutes. Add 4 cups of the turkey broth and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the sauce is thick but still pourable, about 40 minutes. Add more turkey broth if it becomes too thick.

Stir in the turkey meat and cook for 10 minutes over low heat so the turkey can absorb the flavors of the mole sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the turkey and sauce into a shallow serving bowl and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.

Make Ahead Tips:
The turkey legs can be poached a day ahead (refrigerate the meat and broth separately). The chiles and raisins may be soaked overnight and refrigerated in the soaking liquid.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve over Basic White Rice.

Serves 6-8.

Recipe by Bruce Aidells via