Cuba the traditional preparation turkey involves
braising the bird after seasoning it with Cuba s
beloved garlic-herb-and-spice paste, adobo.
are a few delicious reasons turkey serves as the centerpiece
of so many Thanksgiving celebrations.
versatile bird is adaptable to a multitude of preparations
and comfortable with all sorts of ingredients. Long before
it fed those Pilgrims at a harvest meal nearly 400 years
ago, this native American bird was showing up at feasts
throughout Latin America.
is an important celebration food," says Maricel
Presilla, the author of "Gran Cocina Latina: The Food
of Latin America," ticking off a handful of
preparations, from Mexico’s moles to Guatemala’s
what you serve to people when you care about them," she
were you to visit Cuba these days, and more Americans
reportedly do, don’t expect to find a glistening
gargantuan roasted bird. Instead, Presilla told us, the
traditional preparation involves braising the bird after
seasoning it with Cuba’s beloved garlic-herb-and-spice
first Thanksgiving in the U.S. was in 1970, when her family
arrived from their hometown of Santiago de Cuba. Here the
"golden turkeys of television commercials and magazine
ads beckoned," she writes in "Gran Cocina Latina."
"More poignantly, the story of the Pilgrims began to
resonate in my mind as a symbol of hope in the face of our
own tribulations. … Like most newcomers to this country,
we turned Thanksgiving into a hybrid feast."
and her family tweaked their Thanksgiving feast. "The
Thanksgiving meal is perfect for us because Cubans like the
sweetness of it," she says. "If we don’t have
ripe plantains, we will have a ripe banana and eat it with
our meal. So it’s the sweet potatoes, the sweetness of the
days, she spices her cranberry sauce with slivers of hot
peppers and fruit juice. And the turkey? "The turkey
always comes with a marinade, an adobo," she says of
the mix of bitter orange juice and spices, including
allspice which is used in Santiago de Cuba. "If I have
leftover adobo, I keep basting the bird with it.
secret here is the juices will collect in the pan, and you
really must baste the turkey with those juices. Just keep
whether Presilla celebrates Thanksgiving in Hoboken, N.J.,
where she is chef and co-owner of restaurants Zafra and
Cucharamama, or in Miami with family, there will be congri
(rice and red beans) or its cousin, black beans and rice,
and the white-fleshed sweet potato called boniato.
like the way families with Italian roots may serve lasagna
at the holiday meal or, as my family does, the liver
dumpling soup of my Czech grandmother, Presilla’s menu
reflects her family’s roots and celebrates Thanksgiving in
30 minutes Rest: Overnight Cook: 3-4 hours Makes: 15
from recipes in Maricel E. Presilla’s cookbook, "Gran
Norton & Co., $45).
large head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled
tablespoon each: ground black pepper, ground cumin, ground
allspice, dried oregano, salt
fresh bitter orange juice or equal parts orange and lime
cup olive oil
15 pound turkey
half-ripe plantains, unpeeled, each cut in 3 pieces
sweet potatoes, quartered
garlic, pepper, cumin, allspice, oregano, salt and juices in
a blender. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Set aside 1/4 cup adobo mixture for basting; mix it with
remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
remaining seasoning mixture all over the turkey. Use your
fingers to gently loosen skin around the breast and thighs,
inserting some seasoning mixture under the skin. Place
turkey in glass or plastic container; cover with plastic
wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
oven to 350 degrees. Transfer turkey to a deep roasting pan.
Add broth to pan. Cover with aluminum foil; roast 2 1/2
hours. Remove foil; arrange plantains and sweet potatoes
around the turkey. Replace the foil; roast, 30 minutes.
Remove foil; continue roasting, basting frequently with the
reserved adobo mixture and pan juices, 1 hour. Add water to
the pan if needed. The turkey is ready when a meat
thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh
registers 165 degrees. Use remaining pan juices to make
information per serving: 487 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g
saturated fat, 188 mg cholesterol, 37 g carbohydrates, 70 g
protein, 661 mg sodium, 4 g fiber
shares table space with the turkey at the Thanksgiving feast
reflects a family’s customs and culture. For some, no meal
is complete without sweet potatoes prepared with a topping
of mini-marshmallows or green beans topped with crushed
french-fried onions. Or, it might be the black beans and
rice popular at Cuban meals, such as this recipe from
Tribune archives. You may wish to pass a cruet of vinegar,
bottled hot sauce and additional chopped onions at the
BEANS AND RICE
cup vegetable oil
green bell pepper, seeded, cut in strips
medium onion, finely chopped
cloves garlic, minced
small fresh hot green chili pepper, seeded, minced
teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
teaspoon ground cumin
(16 ounces each) black beans
tablespoons white vinegar
and black pepper to taste
tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add
green pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, just until
softened. Remove from skillet; set aside. In the same
skillet, add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, onion, garlic and
chili pepper. Cook until vegetables are soft but not brown.
Add oregano, cumin and bay leaf; cook, 1 minute.
beans and their liquid into a medium saucepan. Add
onion-spice mixture; simmer, partially covered, 15-20
minutes. Add water if necessary; the mixture should be
soupy. Before serving, stir in vinegar and salt and pepper
to taste. Serve with cooked white rice garnished with the
reserved green peppers