Pavo en Escabeche Oriental From 'Yucatán'


[Photograph: Mark Randall]

Fragrant pavo en escabeche oriental is a classic Yucatecan dish—more specifically, a specialty of the city of Valladolid—made with grilled turkey, tangy vinegar pickles, and an enormous amount of black pepper. David Sterling's version of this smoky stew in his new cookbook, Yucatán, holds nothing back. The broth is at once spicy and mouth-puckeringly tangy with bursts of smoky flavor from the shredded turkey meat. The dish benefits from an overnight rest, so prepare it the day before serving.

Why I picked this recipe: I like anything that involves pickles, so this recipe was a no-brainer.

What worked: Consider me obsessed with this vinegary, pepper-laced stew.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: If you don't have access to a grill, you can broil the turkey until well-charred. You will miss out on some of the smoke flavor. You can use an Anaheim chile or spicy banana pepper in place of the chile x'catik. I actually found it easier to grind the recado (spice paste) in a mortar and pestle instead of a blender. It was so thick that it clogged up the blades. If you've got a mini-prep food processor (I don't), use it. This dish is often made with chicken, so feel free to substitute it if you prefer.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Yucatán to give away this week.