Salvadorian Roast Turkey

    3 hours 45 min

    This recipe is a little more complex than the average roast turkey recipe, but the results are really worth it. A wonderfully aromatic sauce is made with roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers, chillies and pumpkin seeds. This is used to coat and baste the turkey whilst it's cooking. It's perfect for any occasion. Why not try it as an alternative to the traditional Sunday lunch or Christmas dinner?

    6 people made this

    Serves: 12 

    • 10 large plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
    • 1 large green pepper, halved and seeded
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 (4.5kg) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
    • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, quartered and cored
    • 75g pitted green olives, drained
    • 2 dried ancho chillies, stemmed and seeded
    • 70g raw pumpkin seeds
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 onion, cut into chunks
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Prep:25min  ›  Cook:3hr20min  ›  Ready in:3hr45min 

    1. Preheat the grill and set the rack at the closest setting to the heat source. Line a baking tray with foil.
    2. Place tomatoes and pepper onto the baking tray, cut-side down. Grill on top rack until the skins begin to blacken, about 5 minutes. Place charred vegetables into a bowl and seal with cling film to steam until their skins loosen. Set a rack to the middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 170 C / Gas 3.
    3. Meanwhile, pour vegetable oil into a roasting tin (or frying pan large enough to fit the turkey) and place over medium-high heat. When hot, add the turkey and sear on all sides until browned, about 10 minutes. Once the turkey has been browned, place breast side up into the roasting tin and stuff with quartered apples and olives. Set aside.
    4. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the ancho chillies, pumpkin seeds and bay leaves. Cook and stir until the pumpkin seeds begin to smell toasted, about 5 minutes, then pour the mixture into a liquidiser.
    5. Once the tomatoes and peppers have steamed enough that the skins have loosened, remove and discard the skins. Place tomatoes, green peppers and onion into the liquidiser with the pumpkin seeds. Blend until you have a thick, smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    6. Brush the sauce onto the turkey and place into preheated oven. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 74 degrees C, about 3 hours, basting occasionally.


    Dried ancho chillies can be purchased in Hispanic speciality shops or online. Alternatively, use other dried chillies to taste.

    Turkey tips

    For fail-safe tips and turkey cooking times see our guide to cooking turkey. Also don't forget our turkey gravy recipes.

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    Reviews in English (7)


    instead of buying the ancho chilis and pumpkin seeds and bay leaves seperatly go to your neighborhood hispanic food store and ask for "RELAJO" It has everything you need as far as seasonings goes all in one packet. Just add to blender with roasted tomatoes and Green Peppers for a yummy authentic Salvadorian Sauce. This Sauce can also be used for the Panes con Chumpe or turkey sandwiches. From my experience this sauce always taste better the next day.  -  02 Jan 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    Made this recipe multiple times. I broil the green peppers and tomato while I put 1 can stewed tomatoes, 1/2 yellow onion, 1 ancho chile pepper, pumpkin seeds in blender. the skins come right off the tomato when they are done under broiler and I am not to picky on taking the skins off the pepper. I add a little oregano and then blend it. when that is done I season the turkey with season all salt and a little cumin. sear the turkey and put in roasting dish. pour salsa over turkey making sure to cover it all then spoon pimento stuffed green olives over the turkey. drop in 2 bay leaves. cover and cooked turkey amount of time that the packaging it came in said, usually around 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Super moist and super yummy. served over rice with extra sauce or in the turkey curtido sandwich (recipe on this sight). We clean the sauce from our plate with french bread or warm tortillas. Once you get the hang of making the salsa this recipe is quick. You can also marinate the turkey overnight in the sauce. it lets the sauce soak into the turkey a little.  -  02 Oct 2009  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    This was a wonderful change from the usual roast turkey! Everyone at our luncheon loved it. I slow roasted it overnight in a 250 degree electric roaster and served the olives on the side instead of cooking them with the turkey and had additional sauce from the bottom of the pan in a gravey boat for those who want more. I wasn't sure about the green olives with this but they seemed to be what made it outstanding! This will be my standard roast turkey recipe from now on. No more boring roast turkey around here!  -  28 Jan 2010  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)