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?
Mofongo is a meal in itself, it’s super hearty and delicious. I love to serve it with stews like my Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew), or with Sopa de Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken Soup).
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)
- 1 whole turkey 12-18 lbs, thawed and giblets removed
- 24 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tbsp Adobo seasoning
- 6 tsp Sazon seasoning
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp white or cider vinegar
- 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.
Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks so much for this recipe! It is perfect for my little family and a happy treat for my Puerto Rican husband. One question – do you have an approximate time for how long it takes to boil the plantains? Thank you.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving! They usually take about 30-40 minutes to get cooked through.
Hi I am making this today! It is ready to go but I just notice that it doesn’t say how long to cook the turkey in the oven for? If I could get a response soon please…
Thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!
Cook the turkey for 15 minutes per pound or until it reaches 160F in the breast and 180F in the thigh.
Awesome Jannesse! Thank you so much for the quick response and the Recipe ❤️
Can the stuffing be stuffed into the turkey before baking the turkey so the the turkey can bake with the stuffing inside
I would advise against it to ensure that the turkey cooks evenly.
Pienso hacerlo mañana para accion de gracias, se podria hacer como un plato aparte y ponerse en el horno unos minutos?
Si, esto es lo que yo hago, yo pongo el mofongo en un plato separado y solo decoro el pavo con un poco por dentro. Es más fácil calentarlo en la microonda.
This is not mangú. Mangú is made with vinegar and onions. Plus, I have made mofongo both ways, by frying it and by boiling it, and boiled plantains make a softer mofongo!! Delicioso!!!!!
The recipe does say you can fry it if you make it the day of, which makes it mofongo if you go that route. I was looking for a mofongo stuffing recipe and found it right here
Either way it looks delicious. I was planning to fry it and hadn’t thought about reheating leftovers but you’re right, fried green plantains are gross when reheated. Making this the mangu style instead is a great tip. Probably closer to traditional stuffing in texture that way too. Thanks for the recipe!
I hope you love it!
I loved it so much I’m making it again this year
Yep, that is Mangú, not Mofongo. Also you don’t add oil when mashing, you use garlic butter. THey look similar, but they taste very different. Both are great, but they are not the same. Thanks for the ideas.
Hola. La receta se ve muy rica, pero, eso es Mangu dominicano y no mofongo. El mofongo se hace con platanos fritos. De hecho, esta es la primera vez que veo el mangu ser llamado mofongo. Se ve rico! pero quiero esta receta con mofongo. Gracias!
Me encanta encontrar blogs Puertorriqueños 😀 Aquí una nueva seguidora!
Gracias Jessibeth, me alegro!