WS of the Panuchos dish from Chichen Itza in Los Angeles, CA as seen on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode DV2212.
Recipe courtesy of Chichen Itza Restaurant


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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 20 min (includes pickling time)
  • Active: 2 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings (15 pieces)


Shredded Turkey:

Pickled Red Onions:

Black Bean Puree:




Special equipment:
a tortilla press; a cast-iron comal (smooth, flat griddle), optional
  1. For the shredded turkey: Heat a large pot of water to just below a simmer and add the salt, pepper, oregano, cilantro and garlic. Poach the turkey legs in the barely simmering water for 2 hours. Remove the turkey and pat dry.
  2. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Grill the turkey legs until nicely charred. Pull or shred the turkey and set aside.
  3. For the pickled red onions: Put the red onions in a mixing bowl with the vinegar, salt and 1/2 cup water. Mix well and let rest for 1 hour.
  4. For the black bean puree: In a medium saute pan, heat the oil or lard. Add the yellow and serrano chiles and fry lightly. Add the diced onions and saute until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a blender, puree the black beans with just enough water to allow the mixture to run in the blender. Transfer the black bean puree to the pan with the onions and chiles and cook over medium-low heat, 20 to 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  6. For the tortillas: Mix or knead the salt into the masa. Divide the masa into 15 balls. As you work, keep the masa balls in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out. Add a bit of water if needed for a pliant masa.
  7. Heat a comal (smooth, flat griddle) or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. 
  8. Line a tortilla press with a piece of plastic wrap. Put 1 ball of masa into the center of the press and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Press down on the tortilla press until the tortilla is about 6 inches in diameter. 
  9. Carefully peel the plastic wrap off the tortilla and place the tortilla on the hot comal. When it no longer sticks to the comal, flip to the other side. Press the tortilla with a clean, folded kitchen cloth so that it puffs up. Press around the edges to make sure it puffs up all around and leave a few seconds more on the comal before removing the tortilla.
  10. Along the side, carefully slit the top layer of the tortilla that puffed up--an opening of 1 inch will do--and lift up all the way inside, creating a pocket. The tortilla will still be very hot, so be careful. Do not create too wide an opening, separate completely or tear. To cool, place on paper towels or a clean dish towel. Repeat the process with the remaining masa balls.
  11. Take a cooled tortilla, carefully lift open the top and smear a teaspoonful of black bean puree inside the pocket. Press with your fingers to make sure the bean puree is spread evenly all around. Repeat the process with the remaining tortillas and black bean puree.
  12. Just before serving, heat the comal over medium-high heat and add some vegetable oil. To finish the panuchos, place each one on the hot comal and toast until golden on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove to paper towels. (This should be done just before you are ready to serve, as panuchos are best eaten freshly prepared.)
  13. To assemble: Top each panucho with a piece of lettuce, some shredded turkey, pickled red onions, a slice of tomato and a slice of avocado.