Heritage Turkey



  • 1 heritage turkey, about 20 pounds

  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons pimenton (wood-smoked Spanish paprika)

  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 3 ½ teaspoons anise seeds, finely ground

  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • 2 cups dry posole

  • 3 dried bay leaves

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 1 medium and 1 large onion, sliced

  • 6 cloves garlic, plus 2 cloves sliced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cups fresh cranberry beans

  • 2 pounds smooth winter squash, such as Hubbard, Cinderella, or buttercup, cut into 2-to-3-inch irregular-shaped pieces


  1. Using a sharp knife, remove the thighs and legs in one piece. Separate the legs from the thighs. Cut down each side of the backbone to remove, and set aside. Cut out the wishbone, and discard.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the 6 tablespoons pimenton, 3 tablespoons salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons anise, dried thyme, cumin, coriander, sugar, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub spice mixture evenly over the breast, legs, and thighs. Wrap the breast, legs, and thighs in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

  3. Cut the turkey neck into 3 pieces. Add to a large stockpot with the turkey back, posole, and enough water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and skim any foam that rises to the surface.

  4. Meanwhile, in a double layer of cheesecloth, wrap bay leaves, thyme sprigs, onions, and garlic. Using kitchen twine, tie to enclose. Add to stockpot, and cook until the posole is tender but not fully opened, about 3 hours.

  5. Remove legs and thighs from refrigerator, and unwrap. Add to the stockpot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the posole is tender and turkey is falling off the bones, about 2 hours more. It may be necessary to add hot water to keep the contents covered while cooking. Remove from heat.

  6. Remove the backbone, neck, legs, and thighs. Let cool. Remove meat, discarding bones. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper, and return to the stockpot.

  7. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add large onion and sliced garlic. Cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add remaining 2 teaspoons pimenton and 2 teaspoons anise. Add a little of the cooking liquid from the posole mixture to moisten. Add the cranberry beans, and cook for 1 hour. Add the squash, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Taste, and adjust for seasoning.

  8. Meanwhile, 2 hours before serving, remove turkey breast from refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place turkey breast in a roasting pan. Roast, basting with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees. 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Remove from oven, and let rest for 30 minutes.

  10. Carve turkey breast, and arrange on a platter. Transfer posole stew and cranberry beans to separate bowls, and serve on the side.

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