Chihuahua-style roast turkey: Pavo al horno estilo Chihuahua

articles Food & Cuisine Recipes

Karen Hursh Graber

Northern Mexico is the home of a large turkey industry. Recent years have seen the increase in birds known as doble pechuga – literally “double-breasted” – because of their high proportion of white meat. Both this recipe and the following one are from the state of Chihuahua, where turkey, venison and other game were the traditional mainstay of the nomadic people who once inhabited this land. The typical Mexican holiday stuffing is delicious, and a welcome change from the usual bread dressings.


  • 1 double-breasted turkey, 15-17 lbs.
  • 2 1/2 cups softened butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 lb. lean ground beef
  • the liver from the turkey, finely chopped
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cups blanched almonds, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup pimento-stuff olives, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 3 oranges
  • 3 cups turkey or chicken broth


Wash the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels; mix 2 cups of the softened butter with the salt and allspice and spread the mixture evenly on the turkey, lifting the skin carefully to spread half of it under the skin.

Heat the remaining 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan, saute the ground beef and turkey liver until the beef is no longer pink, add the potatoes, tomatoes, parsley, almonds, walnuts, raisins,olives and wine.

Cover and simmer 1 hour or until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Let the mixture cool, and use it to stuff the turkey.

Place the stuffed turkey in a roasting pan, pour the orange juice and broth over it and bake it in a pre-heated 400º oven for 1/2 hour.

Cover the pan with a lid or foil tent, lower the heat to 375º and continue roasting for another 4-5 hours, basting every 45 minutes with the liquid in the pan.

Twenty minutes per pound is the average cooking time for a stuffed, roasted turkey; a thermometer inserted into the inner thigh muscle should register 180º-185º.

Allow the turkey to rest for 1/2 hour before carving.

The liquid in the pan may be thickened with flour or cornstarch if a thicker gravy is desired.

Serves 12-16.

Published or Updated on: November 1, 1999 by Karen Hursh Graber © 1999
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