Turkey with Salsa Suiza

Salsa suiza is a very traditional Mexican specialty. It’s a milk or cream-based sauce, similar to béchamel, but light green in color (from the tomatillos) and mildly spicy. Legend has it that the “suiza” or “swiss” part of its name comes from the use of cream, cheese and milk, which recall the Swiss Alps. It’s a perfect companion for the traditional holiday turkey, bringing some Mexican flavor to your table. 

Makes 15 servings


15 lb turkey
2 gallons of water
1 ½ gallons of ice
3 cups sugar
2 cups kosher salt
4 Tbsp oregano
4 Tbsp peppercorn
4 lemon wedges
4 orange wedges
½ gallon of real milk
2 lbs tomatillos
2 cups real milk
½ cup cilantro
1 onion
½ cup Emmental cheese, shredded


Turkey Prep:

  1. Brining in a large pot is best. Bring all ingredients to a boil (except ice, milk).

  2. Remove brine from stove and add ice. Once completely cool, add in turkey and brine for 12-24 hours. The longer the better.

  3. Remove from brine, pat completely dry, place in roasting rack / pan and add milk to bottom of roasting pan.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  5. Roast turkey until center of thigh reaches 165 F (around 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours, depending on your oven and temperate of the turkey before cooking).

Sauce Prep:

  1. In a medium pot add salsa suiza ingredients, using the roasting liquid to cover.

  2. Cook until soft, remove and blend with shredded cheese in a food processor or blender. Season as needed.


360 calories; 10 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 160 mg cholesterol; 55 g protein; 13 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 480 mg sodium; 261 mg calcium. Nutrition figures based on using lowfat milk.  

Recipe & photo by Chef Claudette