Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey
Print Recipe
10 to 12 servings Pavo de Acción de Gracias
Ingredients
  • For the marinade:
  • 6 tablespoons achiote paste from a bar
  • 6 cups bitter orange juice or its substitute
  • 6 cups homemade chicken broth or store bought
  • 12 cloves garlic (skin on) charred, broiled or toasted, and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • For the turkey:
  • 1 16- to 18-pound turkey, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 whole red onions peeled and sliced
  • 8 ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 banana leaves (optional)
  • 1 brining bag large enough for a turkey (or an extra-large plastic bag)
  • Chorizo, Apple and Corn Bread Stuffing
To Prepare
  • To make the marinade, in a blender or food processor, working in 2 batches, add the achiote paste, bitter orange juice or its substitute, chicken broth, garlic, oregano, cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper and puree until smooth.
  • Slide the turkey, with the breast side down, into the brining bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and massage it into the bird, working it into the cavity and all the crevasses. Place the bag in a mixing bowl or roasting pan and refrigerate for 12 to 48 hours, turning the turkey a couple of times to redistribute the marinade.
  • Set the oven rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spread the onions and tomatoes in a large roasting pan. Sit the turkey on the vegetables breast side up. Stuff the main cavity with as much stuffing as it can hold and place the rest in a buttered baking dish. Close the cavity by crossing and tying the legs with butcher’s twine. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Pour as much of the remaining marinade over the turkey as will fit halfway up the pan.
  • Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Cover the turkey with layers of banana leaves, if you are using them, and then cover the entire pan with aluminum foil, sealing it as best as you can. The less steam that is able to escape the better.
  • Reduce the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place turkey back in the oven and roast for 3 1/2 hours, or for at least 12 minutes per pound. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the leaves and/or the foil, being careful as the steam is hot. Return to the oven and roast for 20 more minutes. The turkey should be completely cooked through and nearly falling off the bone.
  • Remove turkey from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes, loosely covered with the aluminum foil.
  • Strain all the cooked vegetables and juice into a medium 3-quart saucepan, pressing with the back of the spoon to get as much liquid as possible. Set aside 1 cup for the stuffing. Simmer the remaining sauce for 15 to 20 minutes, until it has reduced by half.
  • While the turkey rests, pour the reserved marinade over the stuffing in the baking dish and place it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until it is hot and the top is crisped.
  • Carve the turkey and serve with the stuffing.
Ingredients
  • For the marinade:
  • 6 tablespoons achiote paste from a bar
  • 6 cups bitter orange juice or its substitute
  • 6 cups homemade chicken broth or store bought
  • 12 cloves garlic (skin on) charred, broiled or toasted, and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • For the turkey:
  • 1 16- to 18-pound turkey, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 whole red onions peeled and sliced
  • 8 ripe tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 banana leaves (optional)
  • 1 brining bag large enough for a turkey (or an extra-large plastic bag)
  • Chorizo, Apple and Corn Bread Stuffing
To Prepare
  • To make the marinade, in a blender or food processor, working in 2 batches, add the achiote paste, bitter orange juice or its substitute, chicken broth, garlic, oregano, cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper and puree until smooth.
  • Slide the turkey, with the breast side down, into the brining bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and massage it into the bird, working it into the cavity and all the crevasses. Place the bag in a mixing bowl or roasting pan and refrigerate for 12 to 48 hours, turning the turkey a couple of times to redistribute the marinade.
  • Set the oven rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spread the onions and tomatoes in a large roasting pan. Sit the turkey on the vegetables breast side up. Stuff the main cavity with as much stuffing as it can hold and place the rest in a buttered baking dish. Close the cavity by crossing and tying the legs with butcher’s twine. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Pour as much of the remaining marinade over the turkey as will fit halfway up the pan.
  • Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Cover the turkey with layers of banana leaves, if you are using them, and then cover the entire pan with aluminum foil, sealing it as best as you can. The less steam that is able to escape the better.
  • Reduce the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place turkey back in the oven and roast for 3 1/2 hours, or for at least 12 minutes per pound. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the leaves and/or the foil, being careful as the steam is hot. Return to the oven and roast for 20 more minutes. The turkey should be completely cooked through and nearly falling off the bone.
  • Remove turkey from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes, loosely covered with the aluminum foil.
  • Strain all the cooked vegetables and juice into a medium 3-quart saucepan, pressing with the back of the spoon to get as much liquid as possible. Set aside 1 cup for the stuffing. Simmer the remaining sauce for 15 to 20 minutes, until it has reduced by half.
  • While the turkey rests, pour the reserved marinade over the stuffing in the baking dish and place it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until it is hot and the top is crisped.
  • Carve the turkey and serve with the stuffing.

20 comments on “Thanksgiving Turkey

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    1. Absolutely! You can also do it with a chicken if you like. I recommend you cut down the ingredients and the time on each step by a third if you use a 3 pound game hen or chicken.

  1. Just saw this episode in Australia. Mexican food ingredients are not widely available here. So what can I use to substitute achiote paste? Also, would regular orange juice instead of bitter orange work? Thanks!

  2. I’ve been watching you for ages. Just watched the Thanksgiving episode this week. As much as I love your trips through Mexico, I think this was my favorite episode! Your joy in cooking and especially your pleasure in cooking with your so precious son (and I’m a sucker for boys!) was shining through the airwaves! I’ve cooked several of your recipes and can’t wait to try these! Almost makes me want to cook the family Thanksgiving meal this year…almost 🙂

  3. If I didn’t want to put stuffing inside the turkey, what would you recommend to put inside in order to infuse flavor and maintain moisture in the turkey?

  4. I’m watching now and can’t wait to make this — also, thanks to the other viewer that mentioned trying this with chicken — what a great idea! Pati, thank you for entertaining us with your stories and delicious recipes. You’re a wonderful teacher!
    P.S.
    I love your molcajete ^-^

  5. Just saw this on TV. I tell you I was drooling the whole time and I’m not waiting for Thanksgiving to do this. Thanks.

  6. looked so good and the ingredients sounded so good that I thought it would make a tasty experiment on the second turkey. Thank you

  7. I tried this recipe on a chicken. The aroma was amazing & the chicken so moist. My husband enjoyed it too. Can’t wait to do the turkey now. Thank you!

  8. Dear Patti,
    Thank you so much for your show!! I just saw your Thanksgiving turkey episode. .. your a great ambassador to Mexican cooking and culture…and thank you so much for your honest, non-sarcastic sense of humor… its refreshing that your not trying to be anyone but yourself…humor and lighthearteness are so important in our daily lives…and your