Thanksgiving Latino style

Denisse Oller

Denisse Oller

November is synonymous with Thanksgiving, perhaps the most important holiday for Americans. It is a day when we come together with our loved ones to give thanks for all we have at a traditional dinner.

At my house, it’s a true family banquet. Here is what’s on the menu this year: Latino style turkey, black beans, white rice with balls and dried fruits, watercress salad, yam beans, queso fresco (similar to farmer’s cheese) with an orange vinaigrette, marinated yucca and of course, several desserts including squash flan.

Here is my personal recipe for Latino style turkey. I hope you enjoy it. From my house to yours, I wish you all the best on this holiday.
And looking forward to seeing you at

Turkey, Latino style

8 portions


  • 1 10-12 lbs. turkey
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 tb. black pepper
  • 1 tb. salt
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 sweet peppers, minced
  • Green lemon zest
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup aged rum
  • 2 cups unsweetened orange juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1 stick of butter (4 oz) softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup white wine

How to Prepare

Wash the turkey and remove excess fat. Take out the innards and put them aside.

Crush the garlic cloves and mix in the salt, pepper, oregano and cumin. Add the oil, lemon zest and peppers and mix thoroughly. Make small cuts all over the surface of the turkey and spread the mixture over the surface and inside the cavity. Mix the orange juice, rum and bay leaves. Put the turkey into a bag or plastic container breast side down. Let the turkey marinate for 24-48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Remove the turkey from the marinade and dry off the excess liquid. Pour out the marinade. Let the turkey rest at room temperature 30 minutes before baking. Insert the onion and orange inside the cavity. Cover the entire turkey and the space between the skin and the turkey with the butter. Tie the thighs together.
Place the turkey (breast side up) on a thick, stainless steel baking pan with a broiler rack. Let it bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

Lower the temperature to 325° F and continue cooking for an hour and a half, basting every 15 minutes with the liquid that accumulates at the bottom of the pan.

The turkey is ready when a thermometer inserted at the center of the breast reads 165° F (175° F at the center of the thigh). The total baking time for a turkey of this size is approx. 2½-3 hours, that is, 13-15 minutes per pound.

Transfer the turkey onto a plastic cutting board and remove the onion and orange from the cavity. Cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest 20 minutes before carving.

Remove the excess fat from the liquid left at the bottom of the baking pan. Heat it up with the innards and white wine over medium-heat until it thickens. Add salt and pepper and serve it as a sauce for the turkey.

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