Yucatán style Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Mexican Turkey

What if this year instead of the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, you cook a delicious Mexican Turkey With Chorizo, Apple, Corn Bread and Pecan Stuffing?

Many people have learned to blend their different ancestries at the dinner table, especially during the holidays (or when they live abroad).

And in that sense, Thanksgiving meals could be like roadmaps that show how different cultures and traditions have been fused together through food.
Celebrated cookbook author and acclaimed Pati’s Mexican Table TV host chef Pati Jinich – who is of Mexican-Jewish ancestry – comes a turkey with a citrusy marinade that includes some of her favorite spices. The “adobo” sauce she uses for her Mexican Thanksgiving Turkey is a mashup of all the flavors she loves – anato (achiote), cumin, cinnamon, and cloves, and she marinates it in grapefruit, orange and lime juice. She explains this is a Yucatan style recipe which ends in wrapping the turkey in banana leaves.



Serves 10 to 12



  • 12 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 6 tablespoons seasoned achiote paste, from a bar (preferably not from a jar)
  • 4 cups homemade chicken broth or canned chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups bitter orange juice or a mixture of 1 cup each freshly squeezed orange juice, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Turkey, Stuffing, and Gravy:
  • 16- to 18-pound turkey, patted dry
  • A heavy-duty plastic bag large enough to hold the turkey
  • Unsalted butter for the baking dish
  • 4 red onions, sliced
  • 8 ripe tomatoes (about 2 pounds), coarsely chopped, or one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
  • Chorizo, Pecan, Apple, and Corn Bread Stuffing (recipe follows)
  • 2–3 banana leaves (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


To Prepare

TO MAKE THE MARINADE: Place the garlic on a baking sheet or in a broilerproof skillet. Broil, turning halfway through, until the papery skin of the garlic is burned and the cloves soften, about 6 to 9 minutes. Peel. In a blender or food processor, working in two batches, combine the garlic with the achiote paste, chicken broth, bitter orange juice, oregano, cumin, allspice, salt, and pepper and puree until smooth.

TO MARINATE THE TURKEY: Slide the turkey, breast side down, into a heavy-duty plastic bag large enough to hold the turkey. Pour the marinade into the bag and massage it into the bird, working it into the cavity and all the crevices. Place the bag in a roasting pan and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or up to 48 hours, turning the bird a couple of times to redistribute the marinade.

Set an oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 450°F. Butter a baking dish.

Spread the onions and tomatoes in a large roasting pan. Set the turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables in the pan (reserve the marinade). Stuff the main cavity with as much stuffing as it can hold. Place the rest of the stuffing in the baking dish; cover and refrigerate. Close the cavity by crossing the legs and tying with butcher’s twine. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Pour the remaining marinade over the turkey.

Roast the turkey for 30 minutes.

Cover the turkey with the banana leaves, if using. Cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil, sealing it as best as you can. The less steam that escapes, the better. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, place the turkey back in the oven, and roast for 31⁄2 hours (or for at least 12 minutes per pound).

Remove the turkey from the oven and carefully remove the foil and leaves, being careful, as the steam is hot. Baste the turkey generously. Raise the temperature to 400°F and return the turkey to the oven and roast for 15 minutes more. The meat should be completely cooked through and nearly falling off the bone. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, while you make the gravy. Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, strain the cooking juices into a medium saucepan, pressing on the solids with the back of the spoon to get as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Set aside 1 cup of the liquid for the reserved stuffing. You will make gravy with the rest. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour on top, mixing well with a wooden spoon, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, letting it gently bubble, until the roux is golden brown. Add the rest of the liquid and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is a brick color and has thickened to the consistency of light cream.

While the sauce thickens, pour the reserved 1 cup liquid over the stuffing in the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until it is hot throughout and the top is crisped.

Carve the turkey and serve with the stuffing.

Chorizo, Pecan, Apple, and Corn Bread Stuffing

Serves 10 to 12

mexican turkey
Mexican turkey stuffing (Photo: nbcnews.com)


  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo, casings re- moved, coarsely chopped
  • 11⁄2 white onions, chopped 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 11⁄4 cups)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 11⁄2 pounds corn bread, cubed (about 8 cups)
  • 11⁄2 cups homemade chicken broth or canned chicken or vegetable broth


To Prepare

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the chorizo and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, until browned and crisped, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, less than 1 minute. Add the celery, apples, pecans, thyme, marjoram, and salt and cook for 5 to 6 more minutes, until the celery and apples have softened.

Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Toss in the corn bread, pour over the chicken broth, and mix gently with a spatula or large wooden spoon until well combined.

Mexican Turkey
Mexican Turkey (Photo: nbcnews.com)

–Compiled by Kristina Puga

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/