Last year I had the honor of not only hosting my own family for Thanksgiving but also Carlos’ brother and sister and their spouses and kids. When planning for it Carlos told me Guatemalans do not eat turkey……so for Thanksgiving they eat this chicken. I dubbed it Thanksgiving gallina since it is what many Guatemalans in the greater Boston area eat on the fourth Thursday of November.
But wait, the story gets worse! In addition to preparing for Thanksgiving at my house, I somehow ended up cooking 8 of these chickens for special orders for other Guatemalans to enjoy on Thanksgiving. Needless to say I did not get much sleep last Thanksgiving. But what I thought was a perfectly roasted chicken was raw in some Guatemalans eyes. So when I say roast the chicken until it falls apart and the marinade on top of the chicken is almost burned, I am not kidding. In the past year I have made this recipe many many times and have never had a dry chicken. I believe the key elements to the success of this are the basting and roasting it right on the bottom of the pan. For some reason when I tried roasting it on a rack, it was not the same. The marinade and stuffing sound odd……but trust me, both are delicious. If all the stuffing does not fit in the chicken, just place it in a small baking dish and bake it in the oven the last 30 minutes of the roasting time. You will want all of the stuffing! Watch out for the crispy skin….there are always fights for it in my house.
Traditionally this recipe is made using a hen, which is also known as fowl or stewing chickens. Hens are a chicken that is anywhere from 10 to 18 months and weigh from 3 to 6 pounds. Due to a hens age they are more flavorful (gamier) but are also less tender. Hens are the common variety used in Guatemala. It is the older chicken running around the yard that may not be laying as many eggs anymore…..so it becomes dinner. In our house we are not fond of hens, so I use a regular roaster chicken. Roaster chickens are commonly used in this countryand are usually around 8 months old, so less tough and a milder taste.
Back to Thanksgiving at our house last year……so not only did I have to roast a turkey but also a chicken that needed to be in the oven for almost 3 hours. Luckily I roast my turkey the day before Thanksgiving and then just gently warm it up before serving. In addition to the usual 5 or 6 side dishes for my family, we also had to have rice and corn tortillas. There were a lot of people around the table that day AND a ton of food! But we had so much fun! The mixing of two families was priceless especially since this was the first time my family had met any of Carlos’ family. The laughs, smiles and many conversations going on at once around the table is what the holiday is all about. I was thankful to have my family and Carlos’ family around the table that day. Nobody remembers how crowded we were or how full we were, we all remember how much fun it was that day. The bringing together of two cultures made it even more special that day!
Recipe: Thanksgiving Gallina (Chicken)
Summary: Turkey is not as popular in Guatemala as it is in the US, so many eat this recipe for Thanksgiving.
- 1 hen or chicken, 4-6 pounds
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup of yellow mustard
- 1 packet Goya Sazon
- 1 teaspoon Goya Adobo
- 1/3 cup of beer
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup of diced onion
- 1/3 cup diced potato
- ½ pound of ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Goya Adobo
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 cups of frozen carrots, peas and green beans
- Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry. Place in a large bowl with a cover.
- Marinade: Mix first four ingredients in a small bowl. Pour ¼ of the mayo mixture inside the chicken and smear around the cavity. Pour the rest of the mayo mixture over the chicken and massage it all over using your hands. Pour beer inside and out and smear everything all over the chicken making sure it is fully covered. Cover bowl and marinate overnight.
- Stuffing: Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Saute onions and potatoes until edges turn brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and break up with the back of a wooden spoon, add adobo and cook until ground beef is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add bay leaf and mixed vegetables. Stir to mix all ingredients together, remove from heat and let cool. Never stuff the gallina with warm stuffing.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. When ready to roast the chicken in the oven, place it in a shallow roasting pan and place stuffing in the cavity. Pour any marinade still in the bowl over the chicken. Place chicken in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes a pound or until the drumsticks begin to pull away and chicken is very brown, (almost burned) basting every 30 minutes or so. If too much liquid begins to build up in the pan, just drain it into a bowl and use for basting. This way it will get crispy all over!Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
- Enjoy this juicy and delicious chicken with white rice and warmed corn tortillas.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 2 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
My rating 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)