turkey stew
Nov 3 2014

Guatemalan mother shares turkey stew recipe

Doña Jesus started raising turkeys about seven years ago to help support her family. It was right around the time her son Diego was sponsored through Unbound. When all of her turkeys got sick and died, she received lots of encouragement from the Unbound staff not to give up. She also got seven turkeys from Unbound to help her restart her business.

To say thank you for all the support and encouragement her family has received, Doña Jesus shared her recipe for turkey stew, which she makes for her family every Christmas.

Turkey stew recipe

Serves approximately 10 people

Preparation note: This recipe requires a two-day preparation process to allow time for the meat to tenderize and season.

5 1/3 pounds raw turkey meat cut into pieces the size of a drumstick or smaller
For seasoning (Day 1):

1 ½ large onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, diced
2 pimiento peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons pepper powder
3 ½ tablespoons of powdered meat tenderizer (non-flavored)
For stew (Day 2):
5 tablespoons corn (or vegetable) oil
4 teaspoons huaque pepper (Guatemalan chili)
4 teaspoons “pasa” or “pasilla” peppers
2 pounds pimiento peppers
6 2/3 pounds tomatoes, quartered
1 1/3 cup onions
2 garlic cloves
Dash of laurel
Dash of thyme
2 ½ tablespoons red wine
1 ½ tablespoons vinegar
8 teaspoons Coca-Cola
1 cup pineapple, pureed
Salt to taste


1. Add meat and seasoning ingredients in large container. Mix well, ensuring turkey meat is well covered. Cover and refrigerate, letting meat season overnight, or at least 8 hours.
2. In a good-sized skillet, heat a small amount of oil, about half a tablespoon per piece of meat in the pan. Over medium heat, fry each piece of turkey 5 minutes or until it achieves a nice golden color. Discard remaining seasoning. Set turkey aside.
3. In separate skillet, sauté huaque peppers, pasa peppers, pimiento peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, laurel and thyme over low heat. Stirring frequently, cook the vegetables until they are lightly browned. Add cooked vegetables to a food processor or blender and blend. (Note: You may have to repeat step three multiple times, depending on the size of your cookware.)
4. Add turkey, blended vegetables and remaining ingredients to a large pot. Cook stew over medium-high heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

From Doña Jesus: “You can serve the stew with rice and a green hot sauce. I also like to serve it with a cold hibiscus (wild berry) tea.”

Editor’s note: This recipe has been reduced. The original recipe served 30 people.

Doña Jesus’ green hot sauce

Serves 4-6 people

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound green tomatoes, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husked and chopped (tomatillos look like small green tomatoes in papery husks)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1½ cups of water
1-6 jalapeño peppers, crushed (depending on how hot you like it)
¼ cup of chopped cilantro


1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and tomatoes. Cover and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the tomatillos, oregano and cumin. Lower the heat, add water and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture is thickened and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Add the jalapeño peppers and simmer 10 minutes longer, adding water if necessary to keep the sauce from becoming too dry. Top with the chopped cilantro and serve.

Read Doña Jesus’ story.

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