Talking Turkey in portuguese- Peru

You are so bootiful!!
Why Peru? the clue to the origin of the Portuguese name for Turkey came from the Portuguese and Spanish explorers in the sixteenth century, who  brought the first turkeys back to the Iberian peninsula from South America.The turkey in Portugal, as in many countries, now takes an important role in Christmas fare.

Compared to goose, duck and other game birds, turkey lacks flavour and therefore needs all the help it can get to overcome this problem. Its really up to the cook to bring out the best of the flavour. Keeping the turkey moist as it cooks is the sure way to to make it appetizing - so STUFF IT!!Stuffing gives this bland and tasteless bird its flavour. Introduce taste elements to suit yourself. Sweet, sour, salty or bitter. For sweetness use dried fruits such as apricots or prunes, and nuts such as chestnuts, almonds, pistachios or cashews. For sharpness use redcurrants, cranberries, lemon zest and juice, oranges or white wine.For salty and savoury add onion, mushrooms, celery or soya sauce. For more bitterness try mustard or herbs such as sage, thyme or marjoram. Red berries are bittersweet too.

Peru recheado de Natal (stuffed turkey for Christmas)  
Serves 8 to 10

1 medium sized turkey
150ml white wine
1 large orange, very finely sliced
1 large lemon, very finely sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lard
1 teaspoon paprika
110g fatty bacon, minced
salt and pepper

The Portuguese solution to counteract the dry and bland taste is  to steep it in a special marinade, the day before cooking. Prepare the Turkey, then put it in a large basin or bucket with some cold water to cover it, salt and sliced fruits. Turn it around from time to time. The following day take the turkey out of the marinade and put it somewhere to drain, while you prepare your stuffing.
Portuguese style stuffing


450g lean minced pork and veal
60g lean bacon minced
1 large slice white bread
1 small onion chopped
1tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lard
2 sprigs parsley chopped
zest of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper


1 medium onion
450g floury potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
1tablespoon lard
turkey giblets
2 medium eggs
2 sprigs parsley chopped
8-10 black olives stoned
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper

For the breast end stuffing, fry the onion in the fats, until transparent. Add to the minced meat, mix in the fresh breadcrumbs, then add the other ingredients. combine this mixture, season and stuff the breast end of the bird and secure with a needle and string if necessary. Now prepare the tail end stuffing. Fry the onion in the fats and add the giblets, well cleaned and cut into quite small pieces. Add a little stock and allow to cook gently until tender.reduce the gravy if too liquid. meanwhile cook and mash the potatoes and combine with the eggs, olives and parsley. When the giblets are ready, mix them with the potato, check the seasoning and stuff the cavity, again securing with string. Make a paste with the lard, butter, bacon, paprika and seasoning and spread all over the turkey.Put in the oven 160C for about 31/2 hours for a 4.5kg turkey. basting every so often with the wine and its juices.

I noticed while shopping in my butchers in the days running up to Christmas that many Portuguese households get their butcher to joint the turkey. They opt just for a quarter joint or breast portions. This is such a great idea and avoids one having to think up the usual "101 ways with left over turkey" for days after the Christmas blow out


  1. ooh, I like your stuffing recipe... I may steal this for my goose, always so nice to hear about your traditions and stories... thank you x

  2. This sounds way tastier than the traditional English method Im sure the marinade must really give flavour and keep the bird moist.


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