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Pavo Borracho – Not this year

Categories: Cooking,Recipes,Special Days,Traditions & Culture

Drunken turkey in the bagMany years ago,  New York Magazine my sister Aida’s recipe for Drunken Turkey and I still get requests for it every year.  So let’s travel to El Paso so I can put it up on the home page!

Recipe: Pavo Borracho (Drunken Turkey)

Summary: My sister Aída is a wonderful cook with an assertive hand. She developed this recipe for one of our Christmas celebrations, and it is a new family favorite, It is actually oven-steamed rather than roasted, using the somewhat loosely named “roasting bags” ( a type of plastic cooking bag available in most supermarkets). Be warned that it is delicious but does not look great. The cooking-bag method (decidedly untraditional) results in a very Moist turkey with lots of natural gravy, but all this moisture may cause broken skin and exposed leg and wing bones. For the basting you need a basting syringe with a thin metal injection nozzle. If you find the amount of Grand Marnier in this recipe excessive, use the juice of 6 oranges and decrease the Grand Marnier to 1 cup.


  • 1 – turkey (12 pounds) Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 – pounds mixed dried fruit 4 – Granny Smith apples, cored, quartered, and cut into 1-inch wedges Juice of 4 oranges 1 – can chiles chipotles en adobo 3 – cups dark tequila, preferably reposado 3 – cups Grand Marneir 2 – sticks unsalted butter


  1. Rinse the turkey and pat dry inside and out. Salt and pepper the cavity and outside of the turkey. Set aside. Combine the dried fruit, raisins, apples in a medium-size bowl. Put the orange juice and chiles (with the sauce that clings to them ) into a blender or food processor and process for 1 minute. Add 1 cup each of the tequila and Grand Marnier, then pour the mixture over the fruit and let rest 15 minutes. Drain the fruit, reserving the liquid. Cut half of the butter (1 stick) into 1/2-inch pieces and combine with the fruit. Stuff the cavity with most of the fruit. Place the turkey in the roasting bag, arrange the remaining fruit on top of the turkey and pour the reserved orange juice-liquor mix over it. Combine the remaining tequila with the Grand Marnier. Have ready a basting syringe fitted with a metal injection nozzle and inject the mixture all over the turkey. Melt the remaining butter ( 1 stick) and carefully pour over the turkey in the roasting bag. Seal the bag and cut 1 1/4-inch slit on top to let the steam escape. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 2 1/2 hours. Every 30 minutes open the bag (being careful to shield your face from the steam) and inject more liquor, eventually using it all up. When ready to serve, slit open the bag, arrange the turkey on a platter, and scoop out the stuffing. Place all the fruit in a serving bowl. Strain the juices that have accumulated in the bag, skim off any fat, in a gravy boat. YIELD; 8 – 10 servings

Number of servings (yield): 8

Meal type: supper

Culinary tradition: Mexican

Copyright © Zarela Martinez.
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