In the grand tradition of delicious Latin cooking, we wanted to share our very favorite way to prepare our Thanksgiving turkey. Sure, turkey cooking fads come and go—some choose to fry their birds whole, other go exotic with a Tandoori twist, but we just love the traditional pavochón!
A pavochón is marinated and cooked as if were lechón...in other words, absolutely delicious!
Follow the recipe below and we promise your family will thank you for it. Be sure to share your favorite ways to prepare the Thanksgiving pavo with us in the comments.
Turkey and Marinade
8- to 12-lb. turkey
1 lime, sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 cup olive oil
12 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken broth
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1. Remove giblets from turkey and set aside in a covered container in the refrigerator. Rinse turkey with water and pat dry. Place lime slices and cilantro into turkey cavity. Create double-strength plastic bag by inserting one large plastic bag into another plastic bag of same size. Carefully place turkey in bag.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine oil, garlic, orange juice, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cumin. Mix until smooth. Pour marinade over turkey. Tightly seal bag. Refrigerate turkey overnight or at least 12 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
4. Remove turkey from bag. Discard lime slices, cilantro, and excess marinade. Fill turkey cavity with stuffing of your choice. Close by using skewers, by tucking legs under skin near tail, or by tying open area together with cotton string. Carefully place stuffed turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes, or until turkey has browned. Reduce heat to 325°F and cook, covered, another 3 to 4 hours, until thermometer inserted into thickets part of thigh registers 185°F. Baste every 20 minutes. When turkey is done, transfer to carving board. Allow to sit at least 10 minutes before slicing.
5. Meanwhile, place giblets in a saucepan. Add broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove giblets. Discard all except for liver. When cooled, finely mince liver and set aside.
6. Place roasting pan with turkey drippings and juices on stove burner over high heat. Whisk in flour, scraping bottom of pan to loosen caramelized meat juices. Pour in giblet cooking liquid. Cook, stirring, about 15 minutes, until gravy thickens. Stir in minced liver.