Thanksgiving at Daisy’s

Here’s one of our best Thanksgivings ever. We’re bumping this post up in case you want some great holiday ideas.

This year, Rachel and I were invited to our friend Daisy’s house for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating family traditions, and like many families, Daisy Martinez’s yearly observance of the holiday is one of integrating her American-ness with her cultural identity, which is Puerto Rican and Latino.

Turkey (“Pavo” in Latin-American Spanish) the iconic American centerpiece of Thanksgiving, has also been integrated into Puerto Rican culture as Pavochon, which was probably created by New York Puerto Rican immigrants (“Newyoriquens“) between 50 and 70 years ago as an affordable substitute for roast pork, or Lechon, for Christmas.

Related: A Jewish Puerto Rican Thanksgiving

Like Lechon, Pavochon is rubbed with a garlic, salt/pepper and oregano wet adobo and marinated for over 24 hours and then roasted. This one was marinated for 48. In the last half a century, Pavochon has since been imported back to Puerto Rico,  is a popular dish eaten throughout the year and is served alongside Lechon in the central Guavate region.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

Daisy looks on attentively as our chief pavo surgeon, Dr. Jerry, performs the slicing.

The “real” Daisy kitchen features a vintage Garland stove that was rescued from her father’s New York city firehouse. This Garland is similar to the model that Julia Child used to cook on.

As if there was any doubt this was a Puerto Rican household, a pot of Pasteles heating up. These were FEDEXed from Miami by Daisy’s mom and enjoyed by everyone.

Daisy puts the finishing touches on her soup course.

This is a Calabaza (caribbean pumpkin) soup with spicy jalapeno lump crabmeat. Sensational.

Beautiful white meat piles up on the platter. I have to sneak some.

Sauteed Brussel Sprouts.

A view of the table setting.

Pavochon, all carved up.

This stuffing is Daisy’s dad’s recipe, a firehouse favorite with Italian sausage.

Pass the stuffing please!

Other sides featured the traditional Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules, Creamed Spinach and a Mexican-style stuffing made with tortillas and chipotle peppers, similar to a chilequiles.

Pass the turkey please!

Now THAT is what I call a Thanksgiving plate.

Since we didn’t do any cooking this year, I decided to bring a couple of wines over to pair with the meal. This is a 1963 Romariz  port, for the cheese course.

The cheese course, featuring a blue Valdeon from Spain, two hard sheeps milk cheeses and a Chablis-washed triple cream similar to an Epoisses.

Dessert: Apple/Pear pie, a Fig and nut Tart (which went great with a 1988 Riesling Beerenauslese) and chocolate brownie.

6 Responses to Thanksgiving at Daisy’s

  1. Vince Scordo says:

    Hi Jason,

    Great post! Pics are wonderful, as usual! We had a great Turkey Day in Leonia…


  2. Bill says:

    The photos are really fantastic. I’ve always wanted to do a cheese tray like that too… thanks so much for the detail!

  3. Mike in NJ says:

    Pardon me, but if I’m not mistaken, the 4th picture is of tamales (cornmeal cakes traditionally wrapped in plantain leaves and boiled), rather than pasteles (fillo pastries baked and filled with meat/cheese/etc.), aren’t they?

    I could be mistaken – I’m Cuban, and I know some of the terms are switched between cultures…

    Either way, what a terrific meal!!

    • Mike, in Puerto Rican parlance, a Plantain and Pumpkin “tamale” wrapped in banana leaf is a “Pastel” or “Pasteles” in plural. It’s not the same as in Cuba. Lots of terms are different, Puerto Rico uses “Pernil” in some instances where Cuba uses “Lechon” for example. “Cuban” Pasteles I think are just “Postres” in Puerto Rico.

  4. Sophia says:

    Wow, great job here. Awesome picture too! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living’s Tasty Thanksgiving Recipe Contest – – It looks delicious!

  5. Michelle says:

    is there a recipe posted for the turkey? that looks dreamy.

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