Chipotle Cranberry Turkey Tacos

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I had such big plans for my Thanksgiving dinner this year, and then my husband offered to take care of our holiday meal so I could rest on Turkey Day! It was such a thoughtful gesture, and I was all set to let him take over. I’m a control freak, so I was happy to sit back and watch for about 15 minutes.

I wanted the house to at least smell like Thanksgiving, so I bought a small turkey and put it in the oven Thanksgiving morning. Then my son asked if I’d make some macaroni and cheese. Of course I said yes. Then I realized I couldn’t have mac and cheese without cornbread dressing. I pulled a bag of bread ends out of the freezer and whipped up a box of Jiffy Mix cornbread. The dressing came together in a snap. But you can’t have cornbread dressing without cranberry sauce, so I made some. While I was at it I chopped up some collard greens and threw those in a pot with a smoked ham shank. There were a few baked sweet potatoes leftover in the refrigerator waiting to be transformed into a small dish of candied yams. By the time the turkey was done, I’d made Thanksgiving dinner without thinking. Everything just came together.

My husband, bless his heart, contributed barbecue ribs and brisket from City Barbecue to round out our Thanksgiving feast. Then it was time for the leftovers!

Instead of just piling food on a plate or slapping turkey between two slices of bread, the second time around I took the time to change the flavor profile of the turkey for a little Tex-Mex fun. Carnita-style turkey with citrus and smoky cumin flavors made for some tasty after-Thanksgiving tacos. Adding some cranberry sauce to my famous barbecue sauce accentuated the theme of my post turkey-day fiesta. That cranberry barbecue sauce was also the perfect dipping sauce for the few leftover ribs my husband hid in the back of the refrigerator from our greedy sons.

Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post! 

Chipotle Cranberry Turkey Tacos
Makes 6 servings

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cranberry sauce, store-bought or homemade
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 chipotle pepper
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Whisk the ketchup, cranberry sauce, vinegar, chipotle, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic powder and onion powder in a small saucepan until combined. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, until thickened and reduced, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Process int sauce in a blender until smooth.

Meanwhile prepare the turkey. Add turkey, stock, onion, orange, jalapeno, thyme, bay leaves, cumin, salt, and teaspoon pepper to a large skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until turkey is heated through, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat the oven to broil.

Remove the turkey from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Discard the cooking liquid and solids. Broil the meat for 5 minutes; mix with a heat-proof spatula. Continue broiling until crispy and brown, about 5 additional minutes. While the turkey is broiling, warm the tortillas in a non-stick skillet. Divide the turkey among the tortillas and drizzle with barbecue sauce. Top with cabbage, onion and queso fresco. Serve with lime wedges.

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