Do you ever read a recipe that is supposed to be “kid friendly” because it includes raisins or some other fruit that children like?  I have always wanted to scream at them – what kid wants raisins in their rice????  They don’t even want raisins in their cookies!!

Well, this recipe I am going to share with you today is NOT kid friendly.  It is, however, appealing to adults who like something a little bit different, but still approachable.  Today, I  want to share an unusual recipe for a dish that my mother-in-law makes for Thanksgiving.  It is called Relleno de Pavo which translates to Turkey Stuffing.   It is nothing like American stuffing and you don’t cook it in the turkey, either.  

It includes a variety of nuts and fruits in addition to ground beef.  The first time I tried it, I wasn’t sure if I liked it.  However, with additional tastings, I have come to really enjoy it.  I always bring this dish to Thanksgiving at my parents’ house, and although not everyone likes it, those who do really love it.

This is one of those recipes that I had to follow my mother-in-law around the kitchen, writing it down as she made it.  Don’t be too worried about getting exact measurements, but just understand the general proportions.

I will write the complete recipe out below, but let me show you a few pictures of the process.


For each 1/2 pound of ground beef, you will need 1/4 cup each of peeled, diced apple, raisins, diced celery, chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, diced onions, pine nuts (I omitted this because I was out of pine nuts), and one orange.  If you don’t have any oranges (or mandarins, etc.) you can use purchased orange juice.

I quadrupled my recipe, so I was working with a cup of each ingredient.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet (if it is really fatty, drain some of the fat), and then add in all of the other ingredients.

in pan

At this point the ingredients will still have their vibrant color.  We are going to cook everything together for the flavors to meld and become a little more homogenous.

add broth

After the vegetables have softened up, you will add enough beef broth just shy of covering everything.  For the amount I was cooking, this was somewhere between two and three cups.

boil down

Simmer the mixture until the beef broth has boiled down so that when you scrape the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon, it stays mostly dry.

Taste for salt.

This dish reheats really well, so go ahead and make it the day before.  100_7897

The overall flavor profile is savory, with hints of sweetness.

I really love to use the leftovers as a filling for chiles rellenos.  If I have a lot left over, I freeze it for a later meal.

Relleno de Pavo

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup each of the following:
    • raisins
    • sliced almonds
    • chopped walnuts
    • diced, peeled apples
    • diced celery
    • pine nuts
    • onion
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup beef broth
  1. Brown beef.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened.
  3. Add juice of the orange.
  4. Pour beef broth over mixture until it almost covers it.
  5. Simmer until the beef broth has boiled away.
  6. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste.






2 Thoughts on “Relleno de Pavo

  1. Wait a minute, this dish clearly combines fruit and meat. You’ve come around! ?

    • Johanna – I have come around!! I enjoy most meat/fruit combos now, although not all. I’m not as adventurous in my combos as you are, but I am getting there!

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