This recipe goes back a long way with me. In fact, it goes back to October 24, 1983 when I ripped it out of New York Magazine. I’ve moved 4 or 5 times since then; however, this yellowed and food-stained copy of Zarela Martinez’ Drunken Turkey recipe managed to stick with me. [Zarela attributes the recipe to her sister, Aida.] What makes this recipe really special is that you cook the turkey in a roasting bag with dried and fresh fruit, tequila, Grand Marnier and chilies. The result is a deliciously moist bird with a unique stuffing.
For those of you who don’t know Zarela, she is a popular restauranteur in NY with a restaurant of the same name on Second Avenue. Back when I was living and working in NY, I went to her restaurant often. I even hired her to cater a Christmas party for the firm I worked for (a long, long time ago). Some of you may be familiar with her son, Aaron Sanchez, who is pretty hot right now on FoodTV judging ‘Chopped’ and co-starring in ‘Chef vs. The City’. He is also the owner of Paladar on Ludlow Street in NY which my friends affectionately call “the Mojito place.” It’s one of my must-stops whenever I’m visiting.
In the early days, Drunken Turkey almost became a holiday tradition around my house — everyone loved it so! I know for a fact that I made it Christmas ’92, Christmas ’93 and Thanksgiving ’94 because I kept a holiday journal. And, I’m sure I’ve made it other times. My niece, who hosts a lot of our family parties these days, has also made it several times…but neither of us had done it in a while. When given the opportunity to do it for FoodBuzz 24, 24, 24*, we were excited to create a great Mexican Fiesta around our pavo borracho.
Ándale a la Fiesta (Let’s go to the party!)
Appetizers: Margaritas, Macho Nachos, Chips + Dips, Sliced Chorizo and Pan de Queso Mini Sandwiches, Mole-Seasoned Toasted Almonds
Entree: Drunken Turkey, Casserole of Baked Cheesy Yellow Rice w/Poblanos + Corn, Patatas Bravas (spicy baked potatoes), Black Bean Salad with Plantain Citrus Salsa, Garbanzo Salad with Chorizo, Olives, Capers and Ensalada Grande (avocados, hearts of palm, tomatillos, olives, onions, etc.)
Postre (Dessert): Arroz con Leche (Spanish Rice Pudding)
The guests were 4 generations of our immediate family and a couple of in-laws (not pictured). My niece and co-chef, Teri, is in the third photo with her mom. She’s the one with the red apron.*
Our festive place setting.
The turkey and tequila/Grand Marnier-infused fruit ‘stuffing’. Things got a little chaotic and the bird got sliced before I was able to catch it coming out of its roasting bag, but you can see how surprisingly brown it gets even though it is roasted in a bag.
Thank you to FoodBuzz for creating this fun challenge for its members and their readers. FoodBuzz is a San Francisco-based online community of some 10,000 food bloggers worldwide. They aggregate, organize and curate more 1 million blog posts and provide a platform for both bloggers and food brands. Their 24, 24, 24 event showcases posts (like this) from 24 of their featured publishers (like me) monthly. The deal is 24 publishers create 24 unique meals occurring around the globe during a 24-hour period. The 24 posts are currently being submitted and will be viewable for a month at http://www.foodbuzz.com/24.
* Recipes can be found on a separate webpage I created for this event.
*photo collage taken from photos Christmas ’08.
A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!
I've always been a culinary improvisor which means I get my kicks out of recipe development. In the FOODalogue kitchen each meal is an adventure and the journey is as exciting as the destination. My favorite kitchen tools are imagination and intuition. I rarely look at a recipe, not even my own!
On these pages, I suggest food pairings and techniques to be experimented with...in your own kitchen...to your own spice levels...and to your preferred portion sizes.