Coming from a large Cuban family, you can be sure that our Thanksgivings are filled with lots of food and family!! Regardless of who hosts Thanksgiving, my mom always makes “thee” turkey. Growing up, I was always soo fascinated watching her stuff and cook the turkey that I couldn’t wait to learn her recipe. Finally, the day came! One Thanksgiving, a few years back, I joined her in the kitchen from start to finish and took notes on everything she used and how she did things. I was amazed at her tricks. The following year, I wanted to make “Mom’s Turkey” too, and it’s been a tradition ever since. Now we have 2 of “Mom’s Turkey’s”, every Thanksgiving! Here what you’ll need to make your very own:
Turkey – whatever size is necessary for your party
Sour oranges (2 – 3)
Stuffing (I use the blue Pepperidge farm bag one)
Butter (3-4 sticks)
Dried Apricots (handful)
1. With Thanksgiving being on a Thursday, I usually buy the turkey on Sunday. I let it defrost and marinate a couple days before it’s ready to cook. Buy your turkey and defrost it for a day in the fridge. Clean and prep your turkey by removing the giblets from both cavities and rinsing the turkey with water. Pat it dry with some paper towel and you are ready to season and marinate.
2. Two nights before Thanksgiving (Tuesday night), slice oranges in half and marinate the turkey. You will also add a good amount of salt, lemon pepper, onion and garlic powder all of over the turkey. Try to get into the main cavity as well.
3. Put the turkey back in the fridge until the morning of Thanksgiving.
4. Thanksgiving morning, make the stuffing according to box. In addition to the onions and celery the stuffing calls for, I also throw in chopped up apples, prunes and dried apricots.
5. While the stuffing is sitting, cut up 2 sticks of butter into thin squares and make a bowl of mixed seasoning with: lots of parsley, salt, lemon pepper, onion and garlic powder
6. Season each square of butter with the seasoning mix. Throw in a square and make sure it’s gets coated on both sides. Start with 2 squares.
7. Now is when the fun and muscle begins! You will need to use your fingers as scissors to get underneath the skin of the turkey. Go as far back and as you can! You will then add all of your butter squares throughout the turkey. The more places you can add the butter squares, the better. Feel free to use more than 2 sticks if you need to! These butter squares are what’s going to make your turkey extremely tender and juicy!!
8. After you’ve filled the turkey with the butter squares, add the stuffing into the two cavities of the turkey. You can leave out a couple extra prunes, apples and apricots around the turkey for extra flavor, if you want.
9. Season the turkey again with all the seasonings (salt, lemon pepper, onion & garlic powder) and another orange. You will top of your turkey with a drizzle (to your liking) of maple syrup.
10. You are now ready to start cooking your turkey according to the temperature and time of the instructions.
11. Every 1 ½ hour, take out the turkey to baste with butter and more maple syrup drizzle.
12. Enjoy the aroma throughout your house and begin prepping/cooking any other sides or desserts you have planned for your menu!
I really hope you make this recipe and that it can become a tradition in your family! It certainly has is mine and is something I will definitely pass down to my daughter! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Wishing you all a day full of peace, love and reflection as you celebrate all of life’s blessings with your family and friends! God bless!