Talking Turkey In Isla Mujeres
|19th Century painting|
It only lives within a 50,000 square mile area consisting of the Yucatan peninsula and extending a little ways across the northern borders of Belize & Guatemala and the southern borders of Chiapas & Tabasco. They are a smaller subspecies of the North American Wild Turkey, with females weighing 3-4 kg. (6-8 lbs.) and males weighing 5-6 kg. (11-15 lbs.).
|The males have beautiful iridescent plumage with hues of blue, yellow, violet, green and white, as you can see in this photo from Yucatan Adventures. |
They are very shy and sleep in tree branches, spending most of their time on the ground feeding on shoots, seeds, and insects. They live in small family groups in areas of brush and are easily startled. Mayans capture them and fatten them in pens. Turkeys a traditional part of the Yucatan diet, being one of only two species of fowl to have been domesticated before the Spaniards arrived in Mexico (the other was Muscovy duck). Turkeys quickly became popular in Europe, replacing stringy peacocks, and each ship returning to Spain was ordered to include 5 pairs in their cargo.
|Relleno Negro Chilemole, a traditional turkey dish at Yucatan religious events, is offered at the festival of the Virgin of Fatima in Isla Mujeres.|
|Juarez & Matamoros, by Cafecito|
When we ate roasted turkey for the first time in Isla Mujeres, it was with local friends celebrating the New Year. We were surprised to find they stuffed it with ground meat, which turns out to be customary on the island. Isla families eat turkey on Christmas and New Year's Eve.
Recado blanco is a blend of allspice, cloves, garlic, toasted Mexican oregano, toasted cumin, peppercorns, and coarse salt ground in a mortar with bitter orange juice/naranja agria.
After you've put the picadillo into the bird, add some pieces of apple and pineapple. You will put pineapple in the pan, outside the bird, later. Some people add apples. The turkey will be basted with butter (margarine) and pineapple juice. It will be rotated and repositioned several times to allow the all parts of the skin to become golden and crispy.
|These turkeys were not roasted In Isla Mujeres. I should have a photo of that after New Years. Buen Provecho, ya'll!|