Panes con Pavo (Salvadoran Turkey Sandwiches)

panesconchumpe_latinaish

This year we’ll be having Thanksgiving with my (Anglo) family, so I won’t be making Panes con Pavo, (Salvadoran Turkey Sandwiches), which I like to do sometimes. That’s okay though because this special meal is typically made for Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve in El Salvador – We will have to wait a little longer and have it then.

Here’s the recipe so you can make it whenever you’d like.

Note: This recipe was adapted from “Pavo Salvadoreño” at Whats4Eats.com. Over the years I have simplified my method to the recipe below. If you want a recipe that is closer to authentic, (but uses many more ingredients), go check it out.

panconchumpe

Panes Con Pavo/Panes Con Chumpe (Salvadoran Turkey Sandwiches)

First you need to cook the chumpe or chompipe! (Those are Salvadoran words for “turkey”.) Note: You can use a chicken, but if you do, you will need to halve the other ingredients in this recipe as well as the cooking time, or else use two chickens.

Ingredients:

1 medium-sized turkey defrosted (giblets discarded)
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce (“Salsa Perrins”)
52 ounces (two 26 ounce jars) of your favorite mild chunky salsa
1/2 cup white cooking wine
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup “Relajo” Salvadoran spice mixture (difficult to find but necessary for the recipe)

Directions:

1. Wash the turkey with cold water. Pat dry. Season the inside and outside of the turkey with salt and pepper.

2. Mix mustard and Worcestershire sauce together in a bowl, then rub the mixture all over the outside of the turkey. Refrigerate uncovered for about 12 hours.

3. Put the turkey, (breast side down), in a roasting pan on the lowest rack of the oven. Cook for 1 hour at 350°F.

4. Flip the turkey breast side up. Add the salsa, white wine and relajo spice mixture including achiote molido (ground annatto) to the roasting pan, on and around the turkey. Cook for approximately 2 more hours until cooked through. (Make sure you spoon some of the salsa and liquid over the turkey every 20 minutes or so to keep it moist. You can also cover the turkey with foil to keep it from browning too much.)

5. Remove the turkey to cool.

6. Make the sauce: Add the liquid and salsa from the roasting pan to a blender and puree. Pour salsa into a saucepan. (If too thick, you can add water to thin – but I have never needed to do this.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer until slightly thickened. Strain through a sieve if your blender didn’t catch everything. Season with salt and pepper if needed. When sufficiently cooled and easy enough to handle, you can pour into a cleaned ketchup or salad dressing bottle for easy use.

(Note: You can make this recipe without the relajo but it’s best if you can find it, [or make it yourself] because it adds a very unique Salvadoran flavor.)

7. The turkey, when sufficiently cooled, can be sliced and then served as sandwiches. This is how we eat it. Use “bolillo” bread rolls, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato slices, onion, cucumber, radishes, the sauce you made, or any other combination that appeals to you.

(update) Note: Apparently (see comments) having watercress, also known as “berro” in Spanish, on the sandwich, makes it much more authentic!

(update) 1/2/2013 – This recipe has been slightly edited and better photos added. Enjoy!

(update) 11/28/2013 – This recipe has been slightly edited and better photos added yet again.

Posted on November 7, 2010, in Culture, food/drink, holiday, recipes, Salvadoreños. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Watercress is a traditional dressing/ingredient on the sandwich itself. Don’t ask me why because I find it bitter. :)

  2. Is that how you say berro in english..watercress?!?!?

    Definitely a staple! Not panes con pavo if no berro!

    My mom makes the salsa de tomate herself with tomatoes and lots of yummy spices!

    For our family panes con pavo is our Christmas dinner!

  3. Now I am so hungry :D

  4. I have to agree with Angel… watercress is as important as the pavo/chumpe/chompipe (ok, not really). My family’s recipe called for beer and a coke. What is a must is the relajo, thank God I can find it here in the USA.
    In San Miguel I used to have Panes con Chumpe that had inside a whole egg (boiled) The Pan was HUGE, I could hardly hold it. It also had cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and curtido. If you wanted, you could order one with the “chunchucuyo” or with the “molleja” ($$). So good!!!!

  5. that looks REALLY good, I will be trying that recipe for sure

    • Good luck – and as the Salvadorans are reminding me here in comments – don’t forget the watercress for your sandwiches. LOL.

  6. Bitterness in watercress helps play down the turkey or chicken deep after taste since the seasoning is not so strong as mexican cuisine. If you were to use strong peppers or spices, the turkey would lose its distinctive flavor and it would become just another chicken. Cheers.

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