Turkey Steak with Mandarins, in a Spicy Chocolate and Cream Sauce

Monday 13/12/2004

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Diary and Notes

Normally, I like to write a humourous title for each of my day's blogs: 'It was the Bun wot won it!' or 'Freddy Starr ate my Sandwich!' or even 'Jill Duplex Eats Frozen Peas!' (The Times Food Supplement of course), but today I don't think it's entirely necessary. The title above may have the ring of "Is it time to take my happy pill now?" about it, but I assure you I am as sane as I ever was.

Some time ago, way back in my unwashed youth, I used to love watching anthropology programmes on TV (mostly in the hopes of seeing the odd breasty bump or two). I particularly remember one about the Aztecs and their religious rites. The programme took great delight in describing drilling teeth without anasthaetic, threading thorns through penises, making giant books out of human skin (the fabled codices) and eating each other for example, but did give a nod to what these bizarre savages ate. (I'm more paraphrasing the programme than casting any judgement on an ancient and great civilisation who's religious beliefs we probably don't fully comprehend.) So what did these foul heathens eat before the brave, christian, conquistadors, freed them from their backward ways, by murdering them all and stealing their gold?

Turkey with chocolate and chillis.

How we laughed as the programme happily heaped scorn on any culture so base as to cook such a dish, without realising that they were having a stab at the modern day Mexicans (see Mexico Connect) the Americans (recipe Source.com) and even (surprisingly) the French (e-recettes.com).

So armed with this knowledge and the outlines of a recipe I got from the TV I had a go. It was, in many ways, a resounding success. But the TV programme never actually gave details of what else went in the dish, so I improvised and used some cream and a few other things which I can't actually remember.

Fifteen years later and I know a little more about what is a famous Mexican dish: Turkey in Mole (pron:mo-lay) sauce. A friend of mine even bought me a jar of mole sauce from Mexico some years ago. I now know that the dish is generally cooked with a selection of other spices and maybe some tomatoes. Nothing like my attempt at all, but I had learned an interesting lesson; you can use chocolate in a savoury dish and it tastes good. And that folks, is the story of how today's little endeavour took shape.

So what about the mandarins and the sour cream?

I had a can of mandarins. I had some sour cream.

I also had (left to me by my friend Carrie, who's gone back across The Pond) some corn tortilla flour and never having made corn tortillas before, I just had to have a go.

So today's little vinaigrette (vignette) is a left field combination of some things I had in, some of them with a South American feel, plus a can of fruit to top it all off.

"You just so out there Jonny B. Why don't you come back to my room and make sweet, sweet, honey with me?" - Can I hear Chukka Khan calling?

Cake Blog

Star Cake: A cinnamon spiced soft biscuit star, topped with icing. Given to me by a Greek woman I know - quite delicious (the cake wasn't bad either).


  • Turkey Steak and Mandarins, in a Spicy Chocolate and Cream Sauce,
  • Corn Tortillas,
  • Rice.

  • Glass or two of Le Pinard.


  • Turkey Steak, Peanut Oil, Chillis, Lemon Juice, Canned Mandarin Segments (in Juice not Syrup), Cocoa Powder, Sour Cream, Oregano, Black Pepper, Salt.


  • The corn tortillas were made exactly according to the instructions on the packet. If I ever make them again I think I'll adapt the recipe a little to make them more malleable to work with, but they were still pretty good.
  • Heat a little peanut oil in a frying pan (peanut oil is good in that it can be gotten very hot before it starts to smoke - a bit like Chukka Khan) and add the strips of turkey steak. Brown all over and then add the chopped chillis. Turn down the heat and allow the chillis to soften. Add a squirt of lemon juice and the juice from the mandarins, reduce. When nearly all the juice has evaporated, stir in some cocoa powder, some dried oregano, a grind of black pepper and a little salt. Stir to coat all the turkey. Stir in sour cream to make a sauce, then just before serving mix in the mandarin segments.
  • Sing "Chukka Khan, Chukka Khan, Let me rock you..."