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Holiday Turkey and Pan con Pavo

As I've mentioned, my mom's side of the family is from El Salvador, and although they weren't able to bring much, they brought there oh so yummy recipes.  My absolute favorite, and something I look forward to ever year, is the Christmas Turkey.  Once in the US, my family adapted to the customs of Thanksgiving dinner, so it became a Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkey.
Our turkey is the best turkey I have ever eaten, and we have introduced it to so many other people that end up loving it. If you're thinking of making a Turkey for Christmas, here's the best turkey recipe ever.  Along with the best pan con pavo for the day after.
Truly enjoy; especially the olives!

servings:  about 8

15 pound turkey, thawed and cavity cleaned
1 stick butter, softened at room temperature
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons whole pepper corns
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 dry chiles, like ancho
5 garlic cloves
1-3 tablespoons powdered achote*
1 medium yellow onion, rough chop
1 bell green pepper, rough chop
4-6 Roma tomatoes, rough chop
1/2 cup water
1 jar green olives
1 naranja agria, juiced (bitter orange; naval orange is good substitute)
1 cup red dry wine

Night before preparation:
Set thawed turkey in roasting pan. Spread butter all over turkey and salt and pepper generously.
In a skillet on medium heat, toast sesame seeds, pepper corns, and pumpkin seeds. Once browned, set aside. Then, toast chiles and garlic and set aside once fragrant.
In 2 batches add onion, green bell pepper, tomatoes, spices, garlic and chile in a blender. Puree and add water to loosen as needed.
In a large bowl mix the puree, olives, orange juice and dry wine. Add 1/2-1 teaspoon salt to taste. Pour mixture on to turkey and into the cavity of turkey. Cover and refrigerate over night.

The day of:
Take turkey out of the refrigerator an hour before placing into the oven.
Set oven at 425 degrees F. Once oven reaches temperature, place uncovered turkey in oven and let turkey brown for 30 minutes.
Lower temperature to 350 degrees and baste the turkey at this time and cover with aluminum foil. Roast for an additional 1 1/2 hrs, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Take turkey out and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
A lot of juice (gravy) is left in the pan.  This is taken out of the pan and the fat is skimmed.

Mixture of spices can be found at your local Latin food market.
*If only whole achote is found, in a small pan over medium heat, add 1/4 cup oil and 1 tablespoon achote. Let simmer until bright red and add to puree. If no achote is found, use Goya Sazon

Excuse the lack of ingredients, I forgot to take pictures of the first two I ate and barely remember once almost everything was gone.


turkey from the night before, reheated
gravy from the night before, reheated
tomatoes, sliced
cucumbers, peeled and sliced
water crest
French or Italian bread rolls
curtido (optional)

Toast bread in oven.  Slice bread in half and place lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, water crest, curtido, and turkey.  Spoon gravy over turkey.


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