Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Chocolate Turkey

No, not that kind of chocolate turkey. It’s time again for the annual Sagittarius party. The party features food on Sagittarian themes. In the past, Sag food themes have included:

  • Food on skewers (the "arrows")
  • Flambéed food (Sag is a fire sign)
  • Spicy hot food (ditto)
  • Purple food (Purple is the color associated with this sign)

Other food traditions have arisen at the party. My circle of friends has come to associate these food themes with the party, though they have no direct connection with the astrological sign:

  • Food that moves (we once had a volcano cake that erupts and frosts itself)
  • Spam
  • Jello (yes, we have had Spam Jello. Also an anatomically correct Jello brain.)
  • Chocolate

This last food category inspired me several years ago to try a recipe that I found in Food and Wine Magazine. The turkey is conveniently served as part of a buffet. It’s amazingly delicious (especially the gravy) and had been a popular entry each year.

Mole inspired Turkey


1/4 C Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tblsp. Ancho Chile Powder
1 Tblsp. Cinnamon
1 Tblsp. Light Brown Sugar
3 Tblsp Olive Oil
1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar
1 Turkey, 10-12 lb. Rinsed and patted dry
4 Tblsp. Unsalted Butter, melted
2 C Turkey or Chicken Stock
1 1/2 Tblsp. All-purpose Flour mixed with 1/4 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 450°. In a bowl, combine the cocoa, chili powder, cinnamon, sugar, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir in oil and vinegar. Rub half of the paste over the turkey, spoon remainder into cavity.
2. Set turkey on rack in a large roasting pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Baste with some of the melted butter and add 3-4 Tblsp of stock to the pan.
3. Lower temperature to 350° and roast the turkey for 1 1/2 hr. Lower the temperature to 250° and add a little more stock to the pan. Baste the turkey with the butter and roast for 1 1/2 hr. longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 170°. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest at least 30 min.
4. Pour the pan juices into a saucepan and skim off the fat. Set the roasting pan on a burner over moderately high heat. Add the remaining stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.
5. Strain the stock into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Spoon the paste from the cavity into the stock. Boil the stock until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour mixture and simmer over moderate heat until thickened. Season the gravy with salt and pepper.



At 12:56, Anonymous Mark H said...

Whoa! I can't imagine you can still taste "turkey" with that coating...but trusting your authenticity in every other area, we're printing this and will have to pull out that little hen in the freezer and give this a shot. I do agree (after a lifetime of seeing my Mom's gorgeous turkey dinners) that a HOT 450 start to seal up that bird followed by a slower roast is ideal. Mole Turkey?

At 15:17, Blogger Doug said...


You can definitely still taste the turkey in this. You would probably lose the flavor if you used a much hotter chili powder than ancho. I bet that this would go really well with your tomatillo salsa.

At 16:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That sounds really good! I love mole sauce. I just find it really hard to find in Michigan. People also get a little weird when you tell them it is a type of chocolate sauce.

At 17:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting? And what do you do for Taurus? :)

At 23:27, Blogger Ur-spo said...

and what about us Crabs??

At 12:59, Blogger Doug said...

Lemuel and Spo-

I have always felt that it's up to the people born under the other astrological signs to decide for theselves what makes them fabulous and base their own parties accordingly. Both of your signs have obvious food associations. Taurus is an earth sign. Cancer is a water sign and is also the only sign to have an entire second name from which to draw inspiration. The color associated with Cancer is Silver (I'm seeing cakes and cookies with lots of dragees). The colors associated with Taurus are turquoise, green and pink. Sounds like a summer party in the Hamptons to me. So get going, you both have more than 6 months to put this together.

At 00:48, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy mole!
You lost me from the get-go, with the cinnamon and cocoa powder.
In a turkey?

I think I'll stick with several tons of tabasco and my dad's favorite gravy recipe if it's just the same with you.


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