International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Pavo Salvadoreño

Wild turkey

(Salvadoran roast turkey with sauce)

Image Creative Commons by einalem

Average: 3.9 (59 votes)

Pavo, or turkey, is a popular Christmas meal in El Salvador. Salvadoran immigrants to the U.S. often serve it for Thanksgiving as well. The Salvadoran version of roast turkey has a variety of vegetables and spices that are roasted along with the turkey in the roasting pan. This tasty mixture is then pureed and served as a rich sauce to accompany the turkey.

Cold leftover slices of turkey with a little sauce are served in sandwiches called pavo con pan.

Enough for about 8 to 10 people


  • Whole turkey, with giblets -- 11 to 13 pounds
  • Dijon mustard -- 1/2 cup
  • Worcestershire sauce -- 1/2 cup
  • Tomatoes, cored -- 10
  • Onions, chopped -- 6
  • Green peppers, chopped -- 6
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped - 4
  • Prunes, pitted -- 1 cup
  • Green olives, pitted -- 1/2 cup
  • Capers -- 1/4 cup
  • Garlic -- 10 cloves
  • White wine or water -- 1 cup
  • Water or stock -- 3 cups
  • Salt and pepper -- to season


  1. The day before roasting the turkey, remove and reserve the giblets and wash the turkey well with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels and tuck the wings under the body to keep them from burning. Season the inside and outside of the bird with salt and pepper. Mix the mustard and Worcestershire sauce together in a bowl, and spread the mixture liberally all over the outside of the turkey. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before you put it in the oven to let it come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set the turkey, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. If you don't have a V-shaped rack, you may have to tuck balls of scrunched up aluminum foil around the body to keep it upright. Place the roasting pan in the lowest rack of the oven and roast the turkey for about 1 hour.
  3. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Carefully turn the turkey over so it is breast side up. Add the tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, prunes, olives, capers, garlic, and the wine or water to the roasting pan around the turkey. Return the pan to the oven and roast for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting the turkey periodically with any juices that form in the pan. The turkey is done when the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh measures between 165°F and 175°F (use a meat thermometer). If the breast begins to brown too much, cover it loosely with foil.
  4. Remove the turkey to a cutting board or baking sheet. Tent with foil and let it rest while you finish the sauce.
  5. Sauce: Remove any excess fat from the roasting pan. Add the turkey giblets (except for the liver; save this for another use) and the ingredients and juices from the roasting pan to a blender or food processor and puree. Add the puree to a large saucepan along with the 3 cups of water or stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until lightly thickened. Strain through a sieve, discarding any solids. Return the strained sauce to the saucepan, reheat and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  6. Once the turkey has cooled somewhat, slice and serve with the warm sauce.

Pavo Salavadoreño Variations

  • Relajo Spice Mixture: Many Salvadoran cooks add a mixture of spices, peppers and seeds called a relajo to their sauce. Not only does it add authentic Salvadoran flavor, but the peanuts and pumpkin and sesame seeds help thicken the sauce as well. If you use a relajo, you can omit the giblets from the sauce.
    • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
    • 1/4 cup unsalted peanuts
    • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
    • 1 chile guaque or other dried chile, destemmed and deseeded
    • 10 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons dred thyme, or 1 sprig fresh

    Add the spice mixture when you add the vegetables to the roasting pan. Puree and strain the sauce as directed above.

  • Pan con Pavo: Serve the cold sliced turkey in sandwich rolls (bollitos) topped with some of the sauce, lettuce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.


  • Other words for turkey in Central America and Mexico are guajolote, chompipe and chumpe.


Hi, my mom use to make a turkey stuffing recipi that consisted of diced pork tenderloin,diced vegetables ansd spices. This stuffing was put inside the turkey and as it baked in the oven the turkey juices would cook into the stuffing. I have a 15 lb. bird to prepare for Thankgiving and need to know how long to bake the turkey so the vegs., will not over cook Yet the pork will be cooked throughly.
Please Help !!!!!!

Try cooking the pork before you add it to the stuffing. That way you don't have to worry about the vegetables overcooking...or getting trichinosis from the pork!! Just dice the pork, season it and then saute it in a little oil. As the stuffing cooks, it should keep the pork nice and moist and it shouldn't dry out.

i love panes con pavo!! they are so delicious!

We are having pan con pavo this Christmas! Yummy!!! My mom is making it and I am so glad my 4 year old is old enough to be a part of this family tradition.

Al pavo o guajolote, en El Salvador se le llama "Chumpipe" o "Chumpe". Y al emparedado o sandwich, se le llama "PAN CON CHUMPE", y no "PAN CON PAVO" como se menciona antes. La receta salvadorena es deliciosa. El pan frances es abierto por mitad, y luego se le introduce las tiras de "Chumpe", con hojas de lechuga, tiras de tomate, rabano, cebolla encurtida, mas el caldo del chumpe.

No señor también se les llama pan con pavo. Y depende que lugar sean las personas así se refieren al pavo.

Yummy, thanks for the info

My mother's would rub down the turkey with yellow prepared mustard and a variation of the relajo spice/seed mixture. I once made a list of the 13 seeds & spices she used -- a list that I have *sadly* lost! Her method was to toast these in a pan until the pepitas popped, then mill them or blend them in a blender until they became a paste.

In addition to the relajo and mustard, she would pour beer over the turkey and allow it to marinate at least overnight. This makes a moist, tender bird with an earthy flavor. The cold turkey becomes an amazing pan con pavo when served with watercress, curtido, and red onion on a bolio French roll.

I've gotten good results with a rough pub style brown mustard and lager or bitter beer. I also omit the prunes, capers, carrots, & Worcestershire.

I recall my mother adding bread to the sauce, that herself and aunts would refer to it as "Menjurjie". Mmmmm, it makes or breaks the whole recipe. Sadly my mom does not recall every ingredient used. In most part she would use what she had around.

Yes, pouring a beer over the turkey and letting it marinate overnite gives it a great flavor! Lately I put the turkey in brine (water, salt, pepper corns, carrots, celery, and garlic cloves) and let it marinate over nite. Then in the morning, I drain the turkey, stuff the vegetables inside the turkey, add a few chunks of butter to the roasting pan, cover the legs and wings with foil, cover the turkey with foil too. It also helps to line your roasting pan with foil (for easier clean up after roasting). After an hour, I add the sauce to the pan (Sorry no Salvadorean spices in my sauce), and keep basting the turkey a few times until the thermometer indicates that it's done! Yummy! I use the drippings in the roasting pan to prepare the sauce for our panes con pavo. Some of our family members might just want a slice of turkey with paella and other side dishes for their dinner; others do make their panes!

this is the best i have ever have.

My parents serve the sandwiches on a french bread with watercress, radish, cucumbers, turkey and the "special sauce"! About to have one in a few hours!!!!

Hello! my fellow brothers and sisters.
So, here is my dilema. Mom's recipe to marinate the turkey is
mustard,mayo,minced garlic,seasoned with Goya seasonings. How ever when the turkey is cooked and the sauce is poured over the turkey to finally roast and finish cooking. The mayo seperates in to the sauce and it just looks like floating little pieces of fat on the sauce. How do I keep this from happening? Help! my turkey is always amazing! but I don't like the mayo mess!!!!

You need to fry the marinated chicken (with the mayo and mustard on it), no oil needed because of the mayo, then you add the sauce on top of you fry it first you should have any mayo chuncks. Hope this helps. ;)

Mayonnaise is made by whipping eggs and oil, and some kind of flavor. So, what you see floating in the sauce is the separation of the egg (which actually cooks) from the oil. The best thing is to avoid cooking the mayonnaise, or best don't add it to the cooking process but use it as an ingredient for the sandwich.

it is always a good idea to roast your vegetables before throwing them in the blender with your spices. I read in another comment that the spices taste better if you toast them in a skillet, THIS IS SOOO TRUE. Another good tip is not to blend to bay leaves in with your sauce as this can make your sauce bitter. Instead just drop them into the roasting pan and make sure to baste often. Never let your turkey get too dry. I like to make lots of sauce and have some specifically for serving.

I marinate the turkey the night before in mustard, salt, pepper and white white. I omit the mayo.

My mom would also always shove an onion inside the turkey , so of course i do it too

This is the link a video of my mom and I making pavo sandwiches or better known as pan con chumpe. Enjoy!