Panes con Pavo (Salvadoran Turkey Sandwich)

14 oz canned diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon annatto seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons hulled, roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup diced onion
4.5 oz Old El Paso® chopped green chiles
3 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey breast
4 kaiser rolls, Italian rolls or bollitos

Place the tomatoes, spices, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion and green chiles in a blender. Pulse until a smooth sauce forms. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Add the turkey. Simmer for 10 minutes or until warmed through. Serve on kaiser rolls, Italian rolls or bollitos.

My thoughts:

A popular dish at Christmas time (or Thanksgiving for many US dwelling Salvadorian families), Salvadorian turkey is a delicious treat but a lot of work. First you slather the turkey in a mixture of spices and mustard and allow it marinate for hours. Then, you simmer it in a rich sauce until it is nearly falling off the bone then the sauce is drained, simmered again until it reduces then drizzled over the turkey again. The leftovers are often served as sandwiches the next day. I’ve always wanted to make a Salvadorian style turkey, Pavo Salvadoreño, at Thanksgiving but a more traditional roasted turkey normally wins out. Last year I got to thinking that there was no reason I couldn’t transform my leftover roasted turkey into Panes con Pavo. I decided to make a sauce that used the same flavors and ingredients and simmer the cooked turkey in it rather than starting from raw turkey. Great idea, right? However, I got so caught up making other Thanksgiving leftover recipes (they are some of my favorites to create each year!) that I ran out of turkey before I got to make the sandwiches. I saved my notes and figured I’d get around it eventually. Then just a few weeks ago Old El Paso® got in touch with me looking for a new fun way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey; I had turkey leftover from Faux Thanksgiving so the stars finally aligned. Turkey sandwiches for all! I used their green chiles in the sauce and they added a peppery flavor but not a ton of heat, which was perfect because Pavo Salvadoreño is not a super spicy dish. I enjoyed my sandwich plain, but traditional toppings include sliced radishes, shredded cabbage or lettuce, tomato slices and watercress.

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