Mofongo is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that consists of fried plantains, garlic, fried pork rinds and salt, smashed in together in a pilón, a wooden mortar and pestle tool that is an essential in Puerto Rican homes. This recipe for mofongo stuffed turkey uses a mofongo-style stuffing to bring a Puerto Rican flair to your Thanksgiving table.
The star of my Puerto Rican Thanksgiving table is definitely the Mofongo Stuffed Turkey. This Latin spin on the traditional Thanksgiving feast is the perfect way to incorporate delicious Latin flavors into your Thanksgiving feast. Marinade a whole turkey with a traditional Pavochon marinade mix, then roast the turkey low and slow in the oven.
My aunt Zoraida, who still lives in Puerto Rico, made this recipe for my family one year when we were on the island for the holiday season. Ever since then, we’ve been making it every year and it’s always my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Mofongo stuffed turkey is the ultimate fusion dish, combining the American staple of Turkey on Thanksgiving, with the traditional Puerto Rican dish of mofongo.
What is Mofongo?
Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish with fried plantains as its main ingredient. Plantains are picked green, peeled and fried, then mashed with salt, garlic, pork cracklings or bacon, and olive oil in a wooden pilón (mortar and pestle). The goal is to produce a tight ball of mashed plantains that can be served with chicken soup or sancocho, broth, or stewed meats and seafood. It is one of Puerto Rico’s most traditional dishes.
Why Do You Boil The Plantains For This Recipe?
Although mofongo is traditionally prepared with fried plantains, this version is made with boiled green plantains. The reason why is that I usually make my mofongo stuffing the day before Thanksgiving. Traditional mofongo is the type of dish that you can have to make fresh and eat fresh, as it doesn’t reheat well. This version made with boiled plantains reheats beautifully in the microwave. To stuff my bird, I zap the mofongo for a few minutes, fluff it with a fork (you may have to do this zap/fluff cycle a few times), then stuff the cooked turkey when it’s out of the oven. You can also prepare the mofongo stuffing the traditional way if you prefer, just make it right before serving for best results.
What to Serve with Mofongo?
Recipes That Pair Well With Mofongo
- Bacalao Guisado (Stewed Cod Fish)
- Carne Guisada (Puerto Rican Beef Stew)
- Camarones Enchilados (Cuban Style Shrimp Creole)
Essential Puerto Rican Holiday Recipes
For a truly authentic Puerto Rican holiday feast, try these other essential Puerto Rican recipes from Delish D’Lites!
- Puerto Rican Chicken Empanadas (Empanadillas de Pollo)
- Pollo En Escabeche (Puerto Rican Pickled Chicken)
- Ensalada de Pulpo (Octopus Salad)
- Salami, Guava & Cheese Appetizer (Entremeses Tipicos)
- Pizza Empanadas (Empanadillas De Pizza)
Main Dishes & Sides
- Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice with Pigeon Peas)
- Slow Cooker Pernil (Puerto Rican Roasted Pork Shoulder)
- Puerto Rican Pasteles De Yuca
- Pastelón (Sweet Plantain Lasagna)
- Habichuelas Guisadas (Puerto Rican Stewed Beans)
- Asopao De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken & Rice Gumbo)
- Coconut Cream Cheese Flan (Flan De Coco)
- Budin (Puerto Rican Bread Pudding)
- Natilla (Puerto Rican Custard Dessert)
- Mantecaditos (Puerto Rican Guava Thumbprint Cookies)
- Pastelitos De Guayaba Y Queso (Guava and Cheese Puff Pastries)
- Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Rum Drink, Egg-Free)
- Arroz Con Dulce (Puerto Rican Coconut Rice Pudding)
- Chewy Coquito Cookies (Puerto Rican Eggnog)
Pavo Relleno de Mofongo (Mofongo Stuffed Turkey)
- 4 lbs green plantains
- 4 strips of bacon or 8 strips of turkey bacon
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- Adobo or salt
- 2 chicken boullion cubes
- 12 cups water
For the Pavochon:
Wash your turkey, remove the giblets and pat it dry. Place the bird in a non-reactive container.
Mash up the garlic using a pilon, or mince the garlic cloves in a food processor or with a knife.
Stir the salt, pepper, oregano, garlic & oil together to combine.
Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the meat. Be gentle, so you don’t tear the skin up too much.
Flip the bird over, and do the same thing on the other side.
Spread half of the mixture underneath the skin of the back side of the chicken/turkey.
Do the same thing on the breast side of the bird. If using a turkey breast, spread the mixture underneath the skin covering the breast meat.
Lastly, sprinkle the outside of the bird with a liberal amount of Adobo, and the Sazon packet.
Wrap the turkey in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, bring the bird to room temperature for 2 hours, then place into a oven that’s been preheated to 325F.
Cook the turkey for 15 minutes per pound, uncovered, to allow the skin to crisp. Roast until a meat thermometer reads 160F when inserted in the thickest part of the breast.
For the Mofongo Stuffing:
Pour the 12 cups of water into a large stock pot. Add in the bouillon cubes.
Peel your plantains by cutting off the ends of the plantain.
Next, cut a vertical slit along the length of the plantain.
Using a small paring knife, pry the peel away from the plantain flesh by sliding the knife in between the skin and the flesh, and twisting the knife up slightly.
Using your thumb, or the knife, continue prying off the skin until the plantain is peeled! You can slice off any stray peel that remains. Continue with the rest of your plantains.
Cut the peeled plantains into 1 inch chunks.
Drop the plantain chunks into the water/bouillon mixture. Cover and bring to a boil.
While the plantains boil, heat up a medium sized frying pan on medium low. Chop the bacon into lardons (strips) and toss them into the pan.
Cook these low and slow, until they’re crisp and most of the fat has rendered out.
Drain the bacon on a plate lined with paper towel and set it aside.
The plantains are done when a knife slides easily into it. You’ll also notice they turn golden yellow in color.
Scoop the cooked plantain into a large bowl and pour in ½ cup of the cooking liquid, along with the garlic powder, grated garlic and a good sprinkle of Adobo.
Use a potato masher or pilon to mash the mixture together.
If you’d like the mixture a little creamier, add in more stock.
Then toss in the bacon and mix again. Check for salt, if it needs more, add in some more Adobo.
To serve as Thanksgiving stuffing, scoop this into the cavity of the turkey when it’s done cooking. Otherwise, you can serve it on the side.
Unlike traditional mofongo, which has to be eaten on the spot, this version reheats beautifully, just microwave to heat up, stirring occasionally until it’s heated through. This makes it a great make ahead for parties and holidays.