Sunday, November 14, 2021

Guest Post: Cuban-inspired #Thanksgiving glaze #recipe from Raquel V. Reyes

Hello everyone! Mia P. Manansala here, and I'm so happy to introduce our guest for today! I had the honor of blurbing Raquel V. Reyes's debut novel, MANGO, MAMBO, AND MURDER and absolutely loved it! The protagonist, a Cuban American food anthropologist (simply the coolest profession I've seen in a cozy so far) has to deal with a big move, a surprising new career switch from academic to cooking show star, and a murder as well. I liked that this protagonist was married with a kid, which brought an interesting dynamic you don't often see in cozies. And, of course, the food is amazing!

Guava glaze for turkey or ham

When Mia P. Manansala asked me to contribute a holiday-themed recipe to the Mystery Lovers Kitchen, it was like Miriam Quiñones, the main character in my culinary mystery series, jumped for joy. What better way to exhibit Miriam’s and my Cuban-American heritage than with a not-your-usual-Americana Thanksgiving recipe? Or how we lovingly say it in Miami, San Guibin. The only dish in a Miami Cuban household on the fourth Thursday in November that might be familiar to the rest of the USA is the bird. The side dishes will probably be some or all of these: yucca with garlic sauce, plantains (ripe/sweet or green/salty), black beans & rice, arroz imperial, and flan. The flan might be pumpkin-flavored, but it will not be in pie form or PSL flavored. And the stuffing for the bird will most likely be a sweet and savory ground beef with raisins dish called picadillo. 

Last year, I experimented with a guava glaze for my family’s Thanksgiving turkey. It turned out to be delicious and very easy—only three simple ingredients.

The ingredients: orange juice concentrate, guava paste, and butter

Guava Glaze Recipe

Recipe for a 12-14 lb bird. Double if larger.

  • ½ cup frozen concentrate Orange Juice
  • ¼ packet (about ½ cup) Guava Paste
  • 4 tbsp Butter

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan.

Place on medium heat. 

Stirring constantly to break down the paste. 

Once thoroughly combined and boiling, remove from heat.

The finished glaze

Glaze turkey as you normally would during the last phase of cooking. This glaze has a lot of sugar and high acidity. It will burn if brushed on too early or if the oven temperature is too high. This glaze is also excellent on a Christmas ham. PRO TIP: Reserve some of the glaze as an alternative to cranberry sauce and serve it warmed like a gravy. 

Enjoy a touch of the tropics this Thanksgiving!

Have you ever tried a non-traditional recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner? How did it go? Was it well received by your family and friends?  

If you like this recipe, please sign up for my newsletter, where I share easy Caribbean dishes.

You can also find me across social media platforms as LatinaSleuths.




Raquel V. Reyes writes stories with Latina characters. Her Cuban-American heritage, Miami, and the Caribbean feature prominently in her work. Raquel is a co-chair for SleuthFest. Her short stories appear in various anthologies, including Mystery Most Theatrical, Midnight Hour, and Trouble No More. Mango, Mambo, and Murder is the first in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series. :



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  1. Welcome, Raquel. That glaze sounds fabulous! I'm going to spatchcock the bird and use a dry rub this year.

    Ten years ago I spent Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico with my son and a family he knew. Their turkey was SO good, with herbs I wouldn't have thought of. Plus, the doors and windows were open, kids were in and out of the pool, and everyone was barefoot. Very different from New England!

  2. For years we have not let a specific holiday dictate our meal. As seniors, if we crave turkey, then why wait. In fact, we had what most call the traditional Thanksgiving meal about 3 weeks ago because it sounded so good to us both. Being an old military brat, living on an Army base around all nationalities, my Mom learned and then taught to me several dishes from other nationalities. We've had tacos on Christmas or lasagna on Thanksgiving before. It's more about the meal made with love and shared with loved ones to me. How boring it would be to never eat a dish from another country!

    The glaze sounds amazing and one that I will be trying I'm sure - just probably not at Thanksgiving. :)
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. Thank you for inviting me onto your blog. I hope a few of you try the glaze and report back. I had it on ham the other day and it is yummy.

  4. This does sounds terrific!
    My father was an airline pilot for Eastern Airlines. He often had to spend time in Miami for special training. Much to my delight, he would bring home Guava jelly! I loved it.
    So, this sounds like a good cousin to my jelly.

  5. Welcome to the Kitchen, Raquel! I always love hearing about different flavor combinations for familiar foods.

  6. This glaze sounds delicious, Raquel! I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year so won't be cooking a turkey, but I'm thinking this might be just the ticket for my next roast chicken...

  7. The glaze sounds terrific for poultry or ham. Thanks for the recipe, Raquel. ~Maya

  8. I'm looking forward to making this glaze ~ new recipes from countries other than the U.S. always excite me! One year for Thanksgiving I used blue corn tortillas for appetizer chips to celebrate Native American culture. The family wasn't as excited as I was but it DID lead to an interesting discussion of what the people on the Mayflower found when they put ashore on the U.S. east coast.

  9. Yum, I love guava! It wasn't T-Day, but for our 1st Christmas after our new house was built, instead of the usual chicken gumbo my dad loved before every holiday feast I served my version of West Indian Callaloo and everyone loved it! My parents shared the same wedding anniversary date as ours, and for our 10th they had treated us to our first visit to the Caribbean, where we'd all enjoyed that dish, among others! I subbed spinach for the greens, and it was delicious. Made enough to take some to my friend & his mother, our closest neighbors in the country, and from then on she always asked if I'd bring more whenever I made it!