Recipe: Ancho-rubbed Turkey Breast

Did you know that the turkey was first domesticated by Indigenous Peoples in Mexico? This recipe gives a nod to turkeys’ Mexican heritage with flavors of ancho chile, garlic, and cumin. A turkey breast half is a great way to serve a smaller group, or even two people who’d like some tasty leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 small dried ancho chile
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 large garlic cloves, halved vertically
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 boneless turkey breast half, skin on (1½ pound)


  1. In a dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the ancho chile, pressing down and turning until it puffs and changes color. Transfer to a cutting board, let cool until you can tear it open and shake out the seeds. Remove and discard the seeds and stem. Place the chile in a heat-safe bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let soak for 10 minutes.
  2. In the same skillet, pour one tablespoon of the olive oil and add the garlic cloves, and cook over medium heat until softened and lightly browned, about three minutes. Add the sesame seeds and stir until lightly golden. Add the cumin and stir for a few seconds, then transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor bowl or blender. Add the soaked chile (discarding the water), brown sugar, raisins and salt. Process until smooth, scraping down as needed.
  3. Place the turkey breast on a cutting board and carefully slip your fingers under the skin to loosen it and lift away from the muscle. Use your fingers to spread the ancho paste under the skin until the meat is covered. Pat the skin down on the chile paste, then drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Roast breast for 45 minutes to one hour, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the breast reads 165 F. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for five minutes before carving.

Reposted by permission from Find more recipes and information about your food and where it comes from at

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