Pavo En Kol Indio

By • March 4, 2013 42 Comments

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Author Notes: I used to order this dish at a place in Cancun called Los Almendros. 20 years ago it was a sort of funky little place in the shade of a giant almond tree, across from the old bull ring. I looked on Trip Advisor and apparently it's fancied up and moved -- but the pavo is still a weekly lunch special. As for the recipe, well -- I am working from memory here. I read the description on their menu and found another description in the reviews of Spirit Of The Earth on Amazon. I went from there to reconstruct it (I can't remember my anniversary or what I am supposed to accomplish at work tomorrow but those flavors are burned in my memory -- maybe burned isn't the best word). Anyhow, this is the kind of food and cooking that I love. It's considered peasant food -- simple ingredients combined and treated in a way that makes the whole much much tastier than the sum of its parts. Nothing here is expensive or fancy, but this is a meal to remember for you and a bunch of your friends and/or family. You can also very easily double this if your guest list grows. The Xni-Pek is a key condiment -- it is fresh and bright and lifts the entire dish to a new level. Xni-Pek means Dogs Nose in Mayan -- it it tart and sweet and spicy and will leave you with a shiny nose.aargersi

Food52 Review: WHO: As the winner of Your Best Thanksgiving Turkey, we're starting to think that aargersi is a poultry pro.
WHAT: A pleasantly unusual, hearty meal reminiscent of Mexico.
HOW: This dish is all about the condiments -- roast a turkey in a complex sauce, whip up the Mexican equivalent of polenta, and make a bright, zippy pineapple salsa to top it all off.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We can't get over the Kol Indio -- making a unique porridge like this is now the newest trick up our sleeves. And once you assemble all of the parts, everything plays together perfectly.
The Editors

Serves 6-8

Pavo En Kol Indio

  • One 2.5-3 pounds turkey breast - bone in, skin on
  • 2 cups yellow onion (one medium onion) peeled, halved and sliced into thin moons
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped (can sub anaheim, cascabel, or one ancho -- these are all dried peppers)
  • 3 cups good poultry stock
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder
  • 1 juicy lime
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup corn meal
  1. Heat the oven to 325. Heat the oil to medium-high in a large Dutch oven. Season the turkey all over with 1 tsp salt and the black pepper. Brown the turkey to golden brown on both sides -- when it is golden, remove it to a plate.
  2. Add the onions into the pot and cook them for a few minutes until they just start to brown. Add in the garlic, cumin, chili powder and chilis and cook for just a couple more minutes until they are fragrant. Add in the tomato paste and cook that until it starts to darken. Now add in the stock and juice from the lime and stir everything together. Put the turkey back in, spoon some liquid over it, cover and stick it in the oven. Let it roast for an hour or so then flip it over. If the liquid is greatly reduced, add a cup of water. Continue to cook at least another hour, or two if you have the time.
  3. When the turkey is completely tender, pull the pot out of the oven. Take the turkey out and put it in a big bowl. Remove the skin and chuck it. Shred the meat with two forks and discard the bones. Pour a couple ladles full of the liquid over the shredded turkey and toss all of that together.
  4. Now add the 2 cups of broth to the Dutch oven and bring it to a simmer. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and cook for 25-30 minutes until it resembles a sort of thick porridge -- think Mayan polenta. You may need to add additional water to keep it from getting too thick. Cook it until the cornmeal is very soft. This is the Kol Indio. Serve that into a bowl, top with Pavo and then the Xni-Pek.


  • 1 cup minced sweet onion
  • 1 cup minced pineapple
  • 1/2 cup minced jalapeno (remove seeds, stem and pith)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together, and let them hang out in the fridge while the Pavo cooks.

More Great Recipes: Entrees|Corn|Tomatoes

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Comments (42) Questions (0)


over 2 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congrats, Abbie!!!


over 2 years ago LocalSavour

Congratulations, sounds delicious! I think I would enjoy this under the almond trees in Cancun best!


over 2 years ago sel et poivre

congrats on being a finalist. love the idea of a mexican porridge!


over 2 years ago btglenn

I really like this recipe, but made a number of modifications. I changed the turkey breast (which I find dry) to turkey thighs. Turkey in Mexico tends to be tougher than US varieties, so thighs would be a more likely substitute. Instead of pineapple in the Xni-Pek, I substituted bitter orange, also used for cooking in the Yucatan. I also used 2 fresh tomatoes instead of tomato paste, cooking them down in the pot, and cut the amount of oil down to a tablespoon instead of a 1/4 cup, which seemed excessive.


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

All great ideas! We can't often find bitter orange here ... but it for sure adds a more Yucatecan flavor.


over 2 years ago calendargirl

Glorious recipe, thank you! Inspired use of turkey breast and that rustic soupy Kol Indio is calling, calling, calling...


over 2 years ago Kukla

Congratulations,I am glad to see you as a finalist and this is a fantastic recipe!!


over 2 years ago alexandsnakes

What kind of fruit could I replace the pineapple with? I am severely allergic to it; in fact I don't really know what it tastes like besides burning. I'd like to make this - in thai food I usually sub green mango or tomatoes.


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Pineapple is sweet / tart so I think you could use mango and maybe a bit more lime. A straight pico de gallo would be good too!!


over 2 years ago Waverly

I can't wait to try this. I crave authentic Mexican food and have no doubt that your rendition is as good as or better than what you had in Cancun. Congratulations!


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

:-) we need to cook together again !!!


over 2 years ago Midge

Delicious and saved! Congratulations.


over 2 years ago Pete Gianakos

Sounds delicious. This may replace my standing request for pesto pasta when I visit.


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I will make BOTH!!!


over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This recipe is purely mad genius! ♥♥♥


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

:-) thanks! Madness often reigns around here as you know!!!!


over 2 years ago EmilyC

This is a truly beautiful dish, Abbie. I've never been so excited to cook turkey breast -- I have one in the freezer that's destined for this! Big congrats!


over 2 years ago foxeslovelemons

Congrats! I have a whole bunch of Guajillo chiles hanging out in my kitchen, and it looks like now I've found something to do with them!


over 2 years ago creamtea

Congratulations! I had a feeling about this one.


over 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Warm, VERY well deserved congratulations! This is not only a keeper, but I'm going to make the cornmeal soup all by itself often. Thank you!


over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I think I need to thank YOU! :-)


over 2 years ago dymnyno

Congrats Abbie...sounds delicious!


over 2 years ago rachaelmr

This is making my mouth water - it is on my list for next week! Thank you!!


over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

YAY ABBIE!!! You rock! This dish rocks! I don't stand a chance. :) Congrats to you. I can't wait to give this a try. It's on my list.


over 2 years ago Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast

What a fantastic "feast". Congratulations.


over 2 years ago cookinginvictoria

Congrats on being selected as a finalist, aargersi! Turkey roasted with guajillo chiles, pineapple salsa, polenta Mexican style -- this all looks and sounds so fantastic. Can't wait to try this dish for my next dinner party!