This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

My Abuela's Table - Christmas Eve: Noche Buena

15th June, 2011
Jenny Butler
Wednesday 15th June 2011

Another day of delicious recipes from Daniella Germain! Don't forget to leave a comment before 10pm Thursday for the chance to win a copy of My Abuela's Table, and be sure to pop over to Daniella's really cute blog too! - Jenny x

Christmas eve is a very special date for Mexicans (95% of the population is Catholic), even more celebrated than Christmas day itself. As with all special occasions it involves the getting together of family and friends, who begin the night's celebration singing traditional Mexican carols and the breaking of a piñata. Mexican piñatas are traditionally made from a large clay pot covered in colourful pieces of tissue paper and usually shaped like a star. The pot is filled with fruit, pieces of sugar cane, peanuts in their shell and small toys. When the pot breaks children rush to collect the fallen goodies while the adults drink ponche (hot punch) - recipe below!  The evening culminates in a wonderful feast consisting of Bacalao a la vizcaina (Spanish Cod), Pierna de puerco a la Navidena (leg of pork in cider), Ensalada Navidena (Christmas salad) and of course Pavo enchilado Noche Buena (Turkey in spicy adobo) - see the recipe below!

Pavo Enchilado Noche Buena  (Christmas Turkey)
Serves 8

For the turkey:
4 onions
3 peppercorns
6 garlic cloves
1 slice bread, toasted
1 cup chipotle sauce
125 ml chicken stock
1 x 3 kg whole turkey

For the stuffing:
1 slice bread
125 ml milk
500g minced beef
500g minced pork
4 rashers middle bacon
2 chicken stock cubes
¼ cup semi-sweet sherry
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup walnuts
½ teaspoon black pepper
8 pitted prunes, chopped finely
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme

  1. The night before: In a blender or food processor, blend the onions, peppercorns, garlic, bread, chipotle sauce and chicken stock until smooth and thick. Rub this paste all over the turkey (inside and out). Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next day: Preheat the oven to 220°C. For the stuffing, place the slice of bread on a plate. Cover with the milk and allow to absorb into the bread.
  3. In a saucepan, fry all the stuffing ingredients (except the bread) in 2 tablespoons oil until brown. Add ¼ cup water and cover, allowing to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. When cool, stuff the turkey with this mixture. Place the slice of bread at the end of the turkey to seal the cavity. Tie the legs together with cooking twine.
  5. Bake in oven for 1 hour. Reduce the heat to 190°C and cook for a further 1½ hours or until done. To achieve a golden bird, remove foil 30 minutes before the cooking time is complete.
  6. Serve with roasted vegetables and chipotle sauce.

Ponche Navideño (Christmas punch)
Makes 6 litres

5 litres water
½ cup rosella fruit* (optional)
8 pieces sugar cane (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks, whole
200 g guava (or quince) paste
4 small apples, cubed
6 guavas (or pears), cubed
6 plums, left whole
5 prunes, stoned
½ cup raisins
¼ cup dried apricots
1 kg brown sugar
500 ml brandy, rum or red wine

*You can find rosella fruit at some speciality or health food stores.

  1. In a large saucepan, boil the water with the rosella fruit, sugar cane, cinnamon and the other fruits.
  2. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10–15 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar and brandy just before you are ready to serve.
  4. Serve very hot in mugs. This drink is perfect for cold winter days!

- Daniella x

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email