Abuela Conchita's Cuban-style Stuffed Turkey (Pavo Relleno)

This Pavo Relleno recipe is so good you’ll be tempted to eat the whole thing yourself! 

But don’t worry. There’s plenty to share. This traditional Cuban dish is made with a whole turkey stuffed with a flavorful mixture of pork, beef, and spices. The result is a tender, juicy, absolutely delicious turkey that your family and friends will love.


One 12-to 14-pound turkey, washed inside and out and dried with paper towels

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup sweet orange juice mixed with 1/4 cup

each fresh lime and lemon juice

1/4 pound (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature

  • Ingredients for the stuffing:

1/2 cup Conchita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground ham

1 pound ground beef round

½ cup Conchita Tomato Sauce

½ pound slivered blanched almonds

½ cup dark raisins

½ cup drained Conchita Salad Olives

4 large eggs, hard-boiled and finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 teaspoons Spanish paprika or mild paprika


  1. Season the turkey liberally with salt and pepper inside and out in a nonreactive pan. In a mortar, crush the garlic into a thick paste and rub it over the turkey, inside and out. Pour the orange juice over the turkey, and set it aside.
  2. To prepare the stuffing, heat the oil in a large skillet until fragrant. Cook the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the pork, ham, and beef, raise the heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the meat is cooked through, breaking up any chunks with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Fill the turkey cavity with the stuffing, packing it loosely, rub the butter into the turkey’s skin, and close the cavity with trussing skewers or sew with a trussing needle and thread. If any stuffing is left over, place it in a baking pan and bake it, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Place the turkey breast-side up in an aluminum-foil-lined roasting pan, cover loosely with foil, and roast for about 2½ hours, basting every 30 minutes with the butter and pan juices. Remove the aluminum foil and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. The turkey is ready when a roasting thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170° F to 175° F, and the thigh juices run clear yellow when pierced with a skewer.
  4. When the turkey is done, transfer it to a serving platter and let it stand, covered loosely with foil, for 30 minutes at room temperature before carving. Remove the stuffing and serve it alongside the carved turkey on the serving platter.

Serves 10 to 12.

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