When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, for Ybeth Bruzual of Spectrum News 13, it’s about spending quality time with family. But a well-seasoned bird also helps.
Bruzual recently shared a tradition he started in 2007 that has become incredibly important to his family.
“15 years ago, I was pregnant and I said to myself, I better start practicing this whole situation like Thanksgiving meal because I’m going to be a mom and it’s going to fall back on me,” she said.
“My aunt Edna has been preparing this recipe for years and she really likes it. It’s called Pavochon. ‘Pavo’ means turkey and ‘chón’ is the back of the word lechón,” she explained.
“All my life I had heard about this so she faxed me the recipe from a newspaper clipping she had and so I started with the baby in my tummy 15 years ago and [now] I make it every single year for my family.
The key to the recipe lies in the seasoning.
“That’s a lot of garlic [and] Origan [and] season your turkey the same way you would season pork. Why is this a big deal? Because [everyone] he complains about how dry the turkey is… But this, my friend, is literally like eating roast pork, but it is turkey!”
Bruzual added that Spectrum News 13 news director Susan D’Astoli sources fresh oregano from her garden for the Pavochón, which she uses every year.
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While the tradition began with Bruzual trying to prepare her signature dish for her family, it has become something she is known for in the community, with even local clergy asking to try the dish.
“I was like, ‘Father, how do you know?’ “Well, St. James’ father so-and-so told me about it. And so if you happen to make some, I’ll take a plate,’ and I was like, no pressure!
For Bruzual, while a big Pavochon is a wonderful part of the holidays, for her, especially this year, it’s all about spending time with loved ones.
“I want to enjoy the weather because one day it’s here – and I’ve never understood that until now after the pandemic – and then it’s gone.”
Bruzual also mentioned how the holidays can help bring families together and inspire positive and warm feelings.
“There’s nothing like food and healing and family, you know, bringing families together,” she said. “That’s why I cook, it’s my therapy.”
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