Given how diverse and multicultural the USA is today, it's easy to find tons of different traditions and dishes for how people celebrate Thanksgiving.
At the Foodbeast office, we had a Filipino-American celebration, with fellow Foodbeast Reach and chef Henry Pineda leading the way with their take on the Thanksgiving turkey.
Henry, who runs the Instagram-famous restaurants, MFK by Aysee and Lola's by MFK in Orange County, California, was inspired by a Filipino holiday staple, rellenong manok. Traditionally, this is a deboned chicken stuffed with a meat filling and boiled eggs, an intricate yet unforgettable centerpiece.
This Thanksgiving version uses a deboned and butterflied turkey breast, and then stuffs it with a Filipino meatloaf filling and boiled eggs. Basted with 'inasal butter' and finished with a rich turkey adobo gravy, there's no skimping on the flavor, or the juiciness, that this bird beholds.
We devoured the entire thing (which is meant to serve 6-8 people) in 10 minutes, a testament to how tantalizing this turkey was. If you're interested in making this for Thanksgiving, or any future holiday, Chef Pineda's recipe for this Thanskgiving Rellenong Turkey is below.
For The Stuffing
- 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
- 1 cup crushed pineapple
- 1 grated onion
- 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
- 1 stalk chopped celery
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup banana ketchup
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Salt and Pepper to taste
For The Turkey And Adobo Gravy
- 1 whole turkey OR 1 large turkey breast (ask your butcher if they'll debone the breasts off a turkey for you)
- 3-4 whole eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 4-6 whole bay leaves, dried
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp water, plus extra for the gravy
For The Inasal Butter
- 1 stick salted butter
- 1 tbsp Annatto powder
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp chopped lemongrass stalks
- Rendered Turkey Fat (optional)
- Begin by deboning the breasts off of your turkey, if whole. Butterfly out the turkey breast. Save trimmings for the gravy.
- Preheat an oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Soft boil your whole eggs for 6-7 minutes, then immediately shock in ice cold water. Once cool, peel the eggs and leave whole.
- Mix together all of the ingredients for your stuffing.
- Season the turkey breast, lay out flat, and place a layer of meatloaf down in the center. Add your eggs in a line, then top with the meatloaf mixture to form a log, encasing the eggs completely.
- Bring the breasts together to form a single roll, and tie using butcher's twine to hold everything together.
- Transfer your turkey to a roasting tray, and roast in the oven for about 80-90 minutes.
- While the turkey is roasting, infuse butter on a low heat with the lemongrass, annatto, garlic, and ginger. Use some turkey fat or skin trimmings if desired for extra flavor.
- Every 20-30 minutes, brush the turkey with the inasal butter. Remove when the internal temperature hits 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and rest until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- As the turkey rests, fry off the rosemary and thyme sprigs in a hot saucepan with oil and some rendered turkey fat. Add turkey trimmings, about 1 cup, plus the garlic, and let the fat render from those as well. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
- Once everything is golden brown, deglaze the pan with soy sauce and vinegar. Add the bay leaves then fill with about 2-3 cups of water. Leave to infuse and reduce for 10 minutes.
- Thicken the gravy by making a cornstarch slurry if desired. Mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water, and whisk into the gravy rapidly while boiling. Let it boil again to thicken the sauce.
- Once the turkey rests, carve out slices, brush with more inasal butter, and serve with a generous pour of the adobo gravy.