Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pan Con Chumpe (Salvadorean Turkey Sandwich)

This incredibly delicious turkey sandwich is a traditional Salvadorean meal. My family came to the USA in 1979 and we did not have the tradition of cooking turkey for Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, we didn't even know what Thanksgiving was until we started hearing about it from our schools and neighbors. However, like all migrant families we tried our best to assimilate and start to bring in American holidays mixed in with what we knew.  My mother, especially, tried to make American holiday meals mixed in with things she knew how to cook from El Salvador. This included Thanksgiving where the closest thing to American turkey was Pan Con Chumpe, which translates to turkey sandwich. In El Salvador there are restaurants that make this delicious sandwich and I remember going to them as a kid. It was quite the treat but nobody makes Pan Con Chumpe as good as my mom does. Do you hear that Bobby Flay...are you ready for a throwdown? Her sauce, everyone in our family agrees, is just extra special.

I suppose you are wondering what in the world I am saying when I say "Pan Con Chumpe?" Try to translate that on an online translator and let's just say good luck with that. We call the turkey sandwich "Pan Con Chumpe" because chumpe means pavo which is turkey in English. I am not really sure the origin of the word "chumpe" but my mother's best guess is that it originated from mixing the indigenous ethnic groups (the Mayans and Pipils) language with Spanish from Spain. Whatever its origin is it certainly is fun to say. Try it Ch-um-pe with a short e like saying turkey without the "y". You will see my kids having fun saying chumpe in our video below. Hope y'all enjoy our version of Thanksgiving turkey. By the way, the turkey I am making in this video is only a turkey breast. You can do it with a whole turkey, you just need to size up the amounts to make enough sauce. Also for the moms out there with picky eaters, like mine, I wanted to add that my kids love Pan Con Chumpe!

Ingredients for marinating the turkey:
  • A Turkey Breast medium size
  • Dijon mustard
  • White wine 
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
Ingredients for the sauce:
  • 2 boiled fresh tomatoes without the skin
  • 1 large onions cut in slices- cooked on a pan just until it is soft
  • 1 green peppers cute in slices - cooked on a pan just until it is soft
  • Prunes - optional used only if the sauce is to bitter
  • Spanish green olives
  • Capers
  • Fresh crushed garlic
  • Salt and pepper 
Ingredients For The Spices Of The Sauce: (see buying the ingredients video)
For these ingredients I suggest you look in the Latin or ethnic food section of your supermarket. Ask someone if you can't find them, but more than likely they carry them. Goya packages all these ingredients. We lightly toast all of these before we grind them.
    1. The night before prepare the turkey breast by removing the giblets (if it has them). Wash the turkey well with cold water and defrost if needed. If your turkey was frozen be sure it is completely thawed before you cook it. Make holes with a knife into the turkey so the mixture you will adding penetrates the inside. Season the inside and outside of the bird with the mustard, garlic and wine. Spread the mixture all over the outside of the turkey and put a few crushed garlic cloves inside the turkey. Refrigerate covered overnight. When you are ready to make the turkey remove it from the refrigerator until it becomes room temperature.
    2. Preheat oven to 350°F and set the turkey in  a large roasting pan with a few celery stacks below it, onions and mushrooms around it.
    3. Mix all the dry ingredients for the spices and lightly toast them in a non stick pan. Then blend them in a food processor until they are a thick powder (we make these the day before since it makes it easier).
    4. Mix all the ingredients for the sauce into a blender then add the spice powder. Adjust salt and pepper to desired taste. If the sauce isn't enough you can add a can of tomatoes sauce. Just be careful to taste it so its not bitter. If the sauce is a little bitter add some prunes.
    5. Add some white wine to the turkey along with mushrooms and onions around it.
    6. Add the blended sauce to the turkey. Try to cover as much as you can of the breast with it.
    7. Roast the turkey breast for about 1 hour covered. You can use aluminum foil if your pan doesn't have a lid. 
    8. In about an hour take the turkey out and baste the turkey with any juices that have formed in the pan. Remove the lid and cook for another hour.
    9. The turkey is done when the temperature in the thickest part measures between 165°F and 175°F (use a meat thermometer) or the built in thermometer has popped.
    10. Once the turkey is done it is time to assemble the sandwiches. It helps if the bread is toasted before you assemble your sandwiches. This will prevents it from falling apart due to the sauce. We like to use keiser, small french breads or hard chicago bread rolls. The bread should have a nice hard consistency so it doesn't fall apart.
    11. We serve the turkey sandwiches stuffed with watercrest, radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, curtido in the bread rolls and top it off with the warm turkey sauce.
    12. Be sure to pile on the condiments and hurry up eat it so it won't fall apart. Also be sure to have lots of napkins close by because it's sure to get messy while you say it's "esta delicioso!"

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