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A fantastic recipe to see in the New Year, named appropriately Pavo Borracho (Drunken Turkey), courtesy of Susy Santiago of Mistongo, a great restaurant on Dr. Coss in Pátzcuaro.


The New Year's Eve party in a home is rather formal in attire but not in attitude. No tuxes are in evidence in the homes we've been invited to but everyone dresses up. There is conversation, dancing, music, games, spirits flowing freely and a great sense of bonhomie. And food. After the grapes and the toasts and the wishes, it's time to chow down.

Pavo or turkey, an animal that has become a staple in U.S. diets. Guajalote as turkey is more commonly called in Mexico, is a food for the holidays or a very special occasion. It can show up for Navidad or New Year's and is quite a special treat.

Susy Santiago, the owner and chef of Mistongo on Dr. Coss in Pátzcuaro (across from the steps leading up to Once Patios) shared her recipe for Pavo Borracho (drunken turkey) with me. It is not a normal part of the restaurant's menu. Like in Mexican homes, Pavo shows up for the holidays.

You enter Mistongo through the passageway of an adjacent gallery which gives you a taste of what's to come.
Susy Santiago, owner and chef of Mistongo.

This year she presented it as part of a buffet for any of the American residents in the area who hankered after a traditional Thanksgiving repast.

A number of Mexican families who happened to be eating at the restaurant also asked if they could partake as well. Thanks to this Argentine import, some Mexicans had a taste of a little bit of Americana. Considering how the U.S. is viewed abroad during these recent times, Suzy did more for U.S. Mexican relations that day than many an ambassador.

We were entertaining at home serving a not so traditional meal of spaghetti and meatballs with roasted peppers from a recipe from this fall's SERVAS encounter in Genova so missed the show.

Turkey has never been much of a favorite of mine. I've held the notion that its only use was to hold a batch of chestnut dressing but after hearing rave reviews, decided to try it for Christmas when the jeweler's family joined us in a celebration up on the hill.

There was also a couple from Mexico City, one from Guadalajara, a fellow ex-Minnesotan and Susy herself with an Argentine friend. The consensus was that Susy's recipe was a winner. I concurred enthusiastically.

Since the stuffing is prepared separately, the turkey cooks in much less than time than expected. The fact that most of that cooking time is spent covered in aluminum wrap insures a moist and succulent bird.

PAVO (that's 'turkey' and not 'parrot') MISTONGO

7-1/2 to 8 kilo turkey (16+ to 19+ lbs.) I ended up with one over 20 lbs. and used pretty much the same recipe. Susy, a die-hard Mexican advocate, recommends using a natural, Mexican turkey, a recipe requirement that could pose some problems for stateside readers.

90 grams (about 3 oz.) butter

1 T fresh ground black pepper

1 T salt

Mix the seasoning with the butter and spread it on the turkey as well as pushing some under the skin.


One 12 oz. bottle dark beer

1 T soy sauce

2 cups fresh orange juice

1 T Worchester sauce

Combine the ingredients of the marinade and pour over the turkey and let it marinate overnight.

Fill the cavity with quartered onions rather than stuffing. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in medium oven (180° C or 365° F) for 3 hours. I thought with the heavier bird, I should cook it an hour longer which was probably a bit more than necessary. However, the bird was no worse for wear. You can baste the bird during the cooking time occasionally and/or coat the aluminum foil with butter to prevent the skin from sticking.

Take off the foil and continue cooking at the same temperature for another hour or less, basting occasionally. The turkey turns a luscious brown.

There was a LOT of food and few leftovers and a really good time was had by all.

But the hit of the party was that turkey although the following recipe for stuffing was also very well received.


90 grams (about 3 oz.) butter

3 kilos (a little over 6-½ lbs.) apples, cut in small pieces

½ kilo (about 1 lb.) chistorra or skinny sausage. This is similar in appearance to hot dogs but thinner and longer. It is also definitely spicier. If unavailable, punt. Try any favorite sausage or just leave it out.

I cooked the sausage first to extract the fat and pour it off. Then I added a bit of butter, and the apples as I cut them up. In all, I probably did not add all the butter because the apples as they were added supplied moisture.

Cook over a very low flame in a heavy-duty pan and stir and stir and stir. Once the mixture is cooked, add the following ingredients:

1-½ lb. loaf of whole wheat bread, dried or toasted somewhat and broken into small pieces. This is the only conscionable use of Pan Bimbo I know of.

200 grams (7 oz.) chopped pecans

250 grams (9oz.) chopped seedless prunes

6 cloves

a piece of stick cinnamon

3 piloncillo cones (I used loose piloncillo which is sort of the equivalent of dark brown sugar except I like it better. I also used much less than the suggested amount since I'm not that fond of really sweet food. For whatever reason, be it less sugar or the fact that there was less fat what with pouring off the sausage fat and using less butter, Susy proclaimed the stuffing better than hers…strong praise indeed.)

Continue to cook over very low flame and keep stirring not constantly but enough.

The dressing should be made the day before. It re-heats very well and simplifies cooking the day of the feast.


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