Being part of a Cuban family has added a new set of flavors and spices to my style of cooking. And making Caribbean Style Turkey “Pavochón” for Thanksgiving has become a tradition in our home.

My husband is Cuban and in his culture eating “lechón” for the holidays is a standard dish that never fails in the family table. But Thanksgiving is a different thing, for our menu we make the Caribbean Style Turkey “Pavochón” using same the same flavor profile for the lechón. And we serve with arroz moro and plantains.

To achieve the lechón flavor profile, we make a marinade combining olive oil, garlic, lime and orange juice. And flavor it with sazón latino, which is a condiment made with cumin, oregano, black pepper, and salt. We add this to the turkey and cook.

This turkey is a perfect example how we us Latinos embrace a true American tradition like Thanksgiving but infuse our culture and flavors to make it our own. Food for us Hispanics is very important, it’s how we connect to our roots and traditions as well as how we make memories with those we love.

We also like adopting the American way of living and even though we did not celebrate Thanksgiving in our countries, now living here we do but with our Latino twist. It is important to give thanks for all the blessings and great harvest we have had in terms of work, accomplishments and taking this special occasion to be together as a family.

If you want to prepare your Thanksgiving turkey Latino style follow the ingredients list and cooking steps.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4-5 lbs.) fresh whole turkey breast with rib
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. sazón Latino
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 large oven bag
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325° F.

2. Clean turkey, stuff butter under the skin and place inside baking bag. Place on large baking sheet.

3. Blender garlic, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil and sazón latino in blender until smooth.

4. Add marinade to turkey and sprinkle with paprika.

5. Close baking bag and bake 2 1/2 hours, or until turkey reaches an internal temperature of 180° F. When turkey is done, open bag carefully and serve.

6. Add turkey drippings and cornstarch diluted in water to skillet over medium heat. Whisk until sauce becomes slightly thick, like gravy.

Notes:

  • I am recommending using a whole turkey breast instead of a full size turkey to save time and for easy handling. However, if you want to prepare a whole turkey follow same instructions and adapt cooking time depending on the weight of the bird.