With origins mainly in Asia, North Africa, and Western Europe, wild birds such as wood pigeon, quail, pheasant, goose, duck, and partridge are found in numerous and varied preparations throughout the Iberian peninsula, influenced by traditions of Europe (present in the use of alcohol, patés, pine nuts and truffles, of which Spain boasts nearly 100 varieties), as well as those of the once-glorious Moorish rule (with ingredients like saffron, sugar, pistachios, almonds, apricots, citrus, and spices).
While game birds in Spain are very often stewed, confited, turned into rillettes and patés, or quartered and grilled, the tradition of the whole-roasted bird is still evident in the home-style dishes of many Spanish regions. Find out more about the various way the Spanish have mastered game bird cooking!
Today, we bring you Pavo al-andaluz, a fantastic recipe to break out this holiday season! It’s an easy way to shake up holiday traditions with a gorgeous roast turkey stuffed with truffles, giblets and dried fruit and nuts with a dash of both Spanish Sherry and Brandy!
- 1 turkey (6kg)
- 1 fresh truffle (jarred is okay if necessary)
- ¼ kg mild, fresh sausage
- Turkey giblets
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- ¼ kg dried prunes
- ¼ kg dried apricots
- 50 grams pine nuts
- 100 grams lard
- 2 cups dry
- sherry (fino or amontillado)
- 1 cup Spanish brandy (soaking the dried fruits)
- Begin by soaking the prunes and apricots in brandy for at least 2 hours.
- Then make the stuffing: first very briefly saute the pine nuts to slightly toast them, then remove and saute the sausages to brown and render a bit of fat in the hot pan. Remove the sausages and sauté the giblets on high heat until well browned but still soft. Chop the sausage into bite-sized pieces and return it to the pan and carefully add 2 fl.oz of the brandy to deglaze (do this away from the fire) and reduce. Once the brandy is reduced, mix the sausage and giblets with the pine nuts and dried fruits (taken from the brandy and drained) and remove the pan from the heat. Finely dice the whole truffle, and add it to the stuffing mixture with 1 spoonful of lard.
- Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper, then stuff it without packing the filling too firmly, leaving two inches of space between the stuffing and the top of the bird’s internal cavity. Sew or tie the turkey’s cavity shut and place the bird in a roasting pan on top of the onion (sliced in a julienne) and the carrots cut into ¼ -inch thick rounds with the rest of the lard. Pat the outside of the turkey dry with a paper towel and season it well with salt and pepper.
- Roast the turkey in the oven at 350ºF for 2.5-3.5 hours, roasting until the bird is brown. Pour the glass of sherry wine over the bird. Continue roasting and basting regularly until a thermometer inserted into the crook of the leg joint reads 160ºF. Allow the bird to rest 10-15 minutes and carry-over cooking to hit 165ºF.
- While the bird is resting, strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan, bring it to a simmer, and thicken to a light sauce consistency by adding, little by little, a slurry of equal parts cornstarch and cold water until your sauce is sufficiently thick without being heavy. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Serve the turkey with the sauce on the side.