Kak'ik - Turkey In Red Broth

Prep Time
Cook Time
2h 15m
Ready In

"This Guatemalan dish from the Q’eqchi’ Maya region of Alta Verpaz, Cobán has been declared Cultural Heritage by the government. It is basically a broth made of spices and vegetables, with turkey legs cooked in it. It's typically served in a large bowl with a whole turkey leg, but many people use chicken thighs instead. Or take the turkey meat off the bone when cooked. It's always served with little white corn tamales on the side, called Tamales de Chipilin, and of course, rice."

Original recipe yields 6 servings
  • Mint leaves for garnish


  • Serving Size: 1 (621.6 g)
  • Calories 804.1
  • Total Fat - 47.3 g
  • Saturated Fat - 12.4 g
  • Cholesterol - 304.7 mg
  • Sodium - 231.9 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 39.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 4.2 g
  • Sugars - 8.6 g
  • Protein - 55.3 g
  • Calcium - 144.5 mg
  • Iron - 5.1 mg
  • Vitamin C - 64.3 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.6 mg

For the red sauce:

Step 1

Turn your oven broiler to high. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, red bell peppers, garlic, and chilies on the cookie sheet. Broil the vegetables for about 3 minutes. Don't let the chilies burn. After about 3 minutes, remove the chilies, but return the remaining veggies to the oven. When the skins begin to char, remove from the oven.

Step 2

Put all the ingredients and the chilies in the blender. Start by pulsing it, but you may need to use a wooden spoon to push everything down (turn off the blender when you’re sticking the spoon in there!!!). The liquid from the tomatoes will make it all come together. If you need to add a little liquid, add about 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Add the achiote and blend for another moment. Strain and set aside.

For the soup:

Step 3

Place turkey legs in a large stock pot. Add chicken stock with enough water to just cover them, about 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 garlic cloves. Cover and let it cook for about 1 hour until the turkey is tender (or 30 minutes, if using chicken thighs). Halfway through the cooking process, ad the green onions and HALF the cilantro to the pot. These will be removed later, so no need to chop them.

Step 4

When the turkey is cooked, remove the green onion and cilantro as well as the legs from the broth and remove the meat from the bones.

Step 5

*Traditionally, a whole leg is served in a bowl, but it’s much easier to eat the soup with the meat off the bone — and off the bone it serves more people.*

Step 6

Return the turkey meat to pot, add the red sauce, and stir well. Add half of the chopped cilantro, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and then cook for another 30 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 7

Serve in bowls garnished with mint and cilantro. This dish is accompanied by white tamales and white rice.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.