Love and Olive Oil

Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos

Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos

The fact that I almost forgot about this dinner makes me very very sad. I think the issue is that kitten pictures are taking over my computer, pushing the food photos farther and farther back into the depths of my iphoto. Hey, you can’t blame me. I mean, just look what I’m dealing with:

Yeah. I thought so.

But anyways, lucky for me I happened to scroll back far enough to stumble upon this recipe. Because, I mean, hello! Beer? Turkey? Tacos? Yes please. Ladies, if you are sick of trying to convince your husband/boyfriend/little brother that turkey can be delicious, just say the word “beer” and I guarantee you they will, for once, be excited about turkey.

To be honest the final product tastes nothing like beer, but is truly delicious. It’s a rich and flavorful taco, faintly reminiscent of a sweet and savory barbecue sauce. Topped with onion, cilantro, and a pinch of sesame seeds, it is as simple as it is saucy. Proof indeed that turkey can be eaten all year round, and doesn’t always have to be served alongside cranberry sauce.

Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos

Beer-Braised Turkey Tacos

Makes 12 tacos. Recipe from Food & Wine.

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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Two 1-pound bone-in turkey thighs or drumsticks, skin and fat removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium white onion, cut into 1-inch dice, plus minced white onion, for serving
1 large oregano sprig
1 large jalapeño—stemmed, seeded and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
1 ancho chile—stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped or torn
One 2-inch cinnamon stick
One 12-ounce bottle Mexican dark beer, such as Modelo Negro
1 cup water
12 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs, for serving


In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the casserole along with the garlic, diced onion, oregano and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato, ancho and cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, until the tomato releases its juices.

Return the turkey to the casserole, add the beer and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, turning once, until the turkey thighs are tender, about 1 hour. Transfer the turkey to a plate and let cool. Discard the oregano sprig and cinnamon stick and boil the sauce over high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 12 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Wrap the tortillas in foil and bake for about 8 minutes, until softened and heated through. Remove the turkey meat and shred it. Transfer the sauce to a food processor and puree. Return the sauce to the pot and stir in the shredded turkey. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the turkey onto the tortillas. Top with minced onion, sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs and serve.

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  1. Absolutely delicious! I made this with chicken and served with avocado, radishes, and tomatoes in addition to the onions and cilantro. It was a complete hit… Thank you!

  2. @ Meghan, I’m making these for the first time tonight. I’m using a bone in turkey breast, leaving the skin on till it’s time to shred. The skin should hold in the moisture and flavor since it’s such a leaner cut. I’ll let you know how it works out, smells delish.. I added a TBSP of brown sugar, and a little tomato paste. So excited to see how this turns out..

  3. Used chicken thighs instead of turkey and a light beer, but it still turned out delicious! One of the best recipes I’ve ever tried. I served it with some chopped tomato and shredded lettuce.

  4. This was amazing! Thanks for the recipe. We served ours with radishes and sour cream too.

  5. I tried this recipe for dinner today. It came out SO delicious and moist and pretty much..amazing. I made a few substitutions: I didn’t have mexican beer so I just used what I had in the fridge: a bottle of Bud Light. Worked swimmingly. I also didnt have any cinnamon sticks in supply so I just used a small handful of brown sugar, which did the trick. And instead of serving with cilantro and sesame seeds, I made a tomatillo salsa with minced white onion, a bit of fresh garlic and chopped cilantro. Served it alongside some sour cream and shredded cheese on corn tortilla, and voila! Thank you for this recipe. As a budding cook, I appreciate recipes like these that are slightly challenging but all the more rewarding when the results are in (my tummy, that is.)

  6. I absolutely love tacos, and these look like … the cat’s meow. I know, corny, but couldn’t help it, am a cat person!

  7. Yum, tacos! I’m a little alcohol-averse, could I substitute the beer with stock or something?

  8. Fabulous! I could totally go for a taco right now.

  9. Okay the tacos look great, but the kitten is just adorable!

  10. Those look fabulous! I’m definitely making these!

  11. These look and sound so very yummy!! I will be trying for sure.

  12. I always see beef tacos done like this, and not being a beef eater, it makes me a little sad. I’m so excited to find a turkey recipe!

  13. The style of your blog is adorable! It is really simple but stylish. I like it a lot. I just uploaded a new episode of my online cooking show, I’m making Swedish Cupcakes! Please check it out. Linn

  14. I love the name of this blog ….found my way to this wonderful world thru Joy our wonder baker and yeah u sure do have a super about to page ,im still tweaking mine :-)))))
    U have a fantastic blog and love those pretty wedding pictures so so muc….oh those cup cakes and now that have said hullo ,am taking another long walk around this wonderful space:-)))

  15. It looks fantastic. I want to try it with the breast, as i’m not a fan of dark meat.

  16. Love the blue plate that you’ve served the tacos on! Plus the beer+turkey combo sounds appealing.

  17. Yum! Braising always makes everything delicious.

  18. Looks like kitty had a taste of the tacos. Kitty approved!

  19. ohhh, I read about these in food and wine and thought they sounded good. Glad to know they tasted as good as they sound!

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