Pavo Asado Navideño (Christmas Turkey and Latin-Style Stuffing)

Pavo Asado Navideño (Christmas Turkey and Latin-Style Stuffing)

I did not grow up eating turkey (pavo) on Christmas Eve in Colombia, and of course, we did not celebrate Thanksgiving, as it is an American holiday. My family always made tamales, lechona and pernil de cerdo (pork leg) for our main dishes during the holidays. But Pavo Asado Navideño is very popular around the country and traditionally served on Christmas Eve in Colombian homes. Each family and cook has their own turkey and stuffing recipe. I got this recipe from one of my aunts who makes this turkey for special occasions.

Pavo Asado Navideño (Christmas Turkey and Latin-Style Stuffing)

This latin-style turkey stuffing has a wonderful combination of textures and a delicious sweet and savory flavor. The stuffing recipe usually has different kind meats, fruit, olives, nuts, spices, herbs, bread crumbs and eggs. The stuffing can be cooked on the stove top, in the oven, or in the turkey. I don’t like to stuff my turkey, so l usually cook my stuffing on the stove top and serve it on the side. Feel free to cook your stuffing the way you prefer. Buen provecho!

Pavo Asado Navideño (Christmas Turkey and Latin-Style Stuffing)

Turkey ingredients:

1 (12-14 lb.) turkey, thawed
10 scallions, finely chopped
30 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup ground cumin
3 teaspoon ground achiote
Salt and pepper to taste
7 cups of beer
2 sticks of salted butter at room temperature

Pavo Asado Navideño (Christmas Turkey and Latin-Style Stuffing)

Stuffing ingredients:

3 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of finely chopped onions
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground achiote
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground chorizo
1 cup chopped prunes
1 cup sliced green olives
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup red wine
2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup of apple sauce
2 cups beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Pavo Asado Navideño (Christmas Turkey and Latin-Style Stuffing)


  1. To prepare the marinade, mix the scallions, garlic, cumin, achiote, salt, pepper and beer.
  2. Pour the marinade over the turkey and massage over the entire turkey and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. To cook the turkey: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lower the rack to the lowest position.
  4. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Rub the butter inside and on the skin of the turkey, then stuff it with the rest of the butter. Place the turkey, breast side down, in a roasting pan on a rack. Pour two cups of water in the pan and place in the oven.
  5. Roast for 1 hour. Add additional water to the pan if needed and roast another 45-60 minutes. The interior temperature of the turkey should reach 160 degree F in the thigh area. If the turkey starts getting too dark on top, cover it loosely with foil. Allow the turkey to rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.
  6. To make the stuffing: Place a sauce pan on medium-high heat and add the butter and oil.
  7. Add the onion, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the beef, pork, chorizo and brown, stirring occasionally, then add the cumin, achiote, cinnamon, oregano, wine, olives, nuts and prunes. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
  8. Add the bread crumbs and eggs, stir well and cook for another 7 minutes. Add the beef broth, apple sauce and mix well. Cook for about 30 minutes more.
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  1. says

    In Canada we do not celebrate Thanksgiving like in the US either and it earlier in the year. We do traditionally have turkey like you at Christmas but rarely with stuffing for some reasons. Your stuffing sounds amazing thought! really flavorful.

  2. Natalia says

    Erica, I want to try this recipe it looks really good, but i just have a question will there be a big difference in taste if i leave out the olives and prunes, and if so is there anything else i can substitute them for?

  3. Charise says

    This looks AMAZING! I am making my boyfriend a Colombian Christmas meal this year. What are recommendations to serve along with this delicious turkey?

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