As Fat Girl Food Squad says goodbye and the new year approaches, my mind has been circling around traditions: making new ones and keeping others alive.
While my fellow Latino friends were preparing for their annual Thanksgiving tamalada, a traditional tamale making party, I was left wondering what happened with my family’s traditions? When was the last time I tasted my family’s recipe for tamales? And what traditions does my family hold high?
Once my initial panic settled, I realized that traditions die just like people. My family’s tamales? They disappeared when my paternal grandmother passed. And while I can buy a Salvadorian tamale that has a hint of familiarity, there’s an empty ache when I think of the fact that this recipe and the tamalada tradition in my family home has been put to rest. And while I have to distract the sad ghouls which cling on to the what-ifs and if only, the long hours of Thanksgiving preparation really cemented what I want to leave behind with my own story and tradition.
Pan Con Pavo
For the sandwich (serves 3):
3 – Bolillo or pan francès (a Mexican bread resembling a baguette)
2 – Roma tomato, sliced
1 – Small cucumber, sliced
1 – Small bunch of watercress, roughly chopped
1 – Small butter lettuce
1 – tsp. Mayonaise or Vegenaise
1 -2 – Handfulls of roasted Turkey
For the sauce (makes enough for a ridiculous amount of sandwiches):
1 can – 6oz of peeled tomatoes
3-4 Cups – Vegetables used while roasting your turkey*
2 Cups – Turkey Drippings
1-2 Cups – Dry white wine
Turkey offal (usually the heart, liver that you roasted with your bird)
Let’s begin with the sauce. Place your turkey drippings and offal into a blender or food processor and blend into a fine mixture.
Once smooth, place the mixture into a large sauce pan on medium to high heat. Heat through for two minutes. As the mixture warms up, slowly incorporate the white wine.Keep on medium to high heat for 15 minutes.
Because the wine and the tomatoes will give off a lot of acidity, you will need to reduce the sauce in half, so lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the course salt, pepper, and crazy salt to taste.