Brad Harvey: Walk on the Wild Side

Gettin’ all the good from your gobbler

May 14, 2013 

As we now look back on the 2013 spring turkey season, many of us have a good supply of fresh wild bird in the freezer.

Problem is, most folks aren’t really sure how to best prepare wild turkey.

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone say that a wild turkey wasn’t fit to eat. They’ll explain all the ways that they’ve tried it, and each resulted in something more akin to shoe leather than good table fare.

In actuality, there are tons of great ways to prepare a gobbler for the table, but because it’s wild, people often don’t understand that you’ll need to treat it a little differently than the Butterball that you’d pick up at the grocery store.

Any wild bird is going to be much leaner than its domestic cousins that are fattened up on a farm. This lack of fat is the culprit that can cause your dreams of a tasty meal to fall flat when your creation is placed on the table.

If you’re trying to roast your gobbler, just as you would a store-bought bird, you’ll just have to tend to it much more by frequent basting.

Not up for that challenge? No problem. Here are a few easy recipes that are sure to change anyone’s mind about the quality of a wild turkey meal.

Turkey Pie

3 cups chopped, cooked turkey meat

6 medium potatoes, diced

1 small onion, chopped

6 carrots, diced

1/4 cup green pepper, chopped

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Place the potatoes and carrots in a saucepan, covering them with water. Cook until tender (20 minutes). Drain, saving 1 cup of the liquid.

In a skillet, sauté the peppers and onions in 2 tablespoons of butter until they’re tender.

Blend the cream of chicken soup and the cup of liquid saved earlier in a bowl. Next, place the turkey meat, cooked vegetables and soup mixture in a 2-quart casserole dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

While the casserole dish is in the oven, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, then add the 1/2 cup of milk, mixing well. Knead the resulting dough on a floured surface, then roll. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out circles of the dough and arrange them over the mixture in the casserole dish when it is removed from the oven. Brush the “biscuits” with a little milk and bake for 15 more minutes.

When done, remove the dish from the oven and allow it to sit for five minutes before serving.

Ever thought of trying your gobbler with a little Asian flair? Here’s a great little way to do just that.

Wild Turkey Fried Rice

1 cup diced wild turkey breast meat

1 small onion, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

1 cup broccoli florets

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 cups cooked rice

2 eggs

6 separate teaspoons of vegetable oil

Soy sauce (to taste)

In a heated wok, add 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Place the pepper, onions, broccoli and carrots into the wok and cook until tender but still somewhat crisp. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Place 2 more teaspoons of vegetable oil in the wok. Add the eggs, scramble then remove them as well.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil, then toss in the wild turkey meat and cook until done. Sprinkle the meat with soy sauce while cooking.

Once the meat is fully cooked, return the vegetables and eggs to the wok with the meat along with the 2 cups of cooked rice. Shake in more soy sauce to taste and mix thoroughly.

Serve hot.

Grilling any bird can be tricky, as it only takes a few seconds to overcook. A perfect way to assure yourself of moist meat is by mating it with a sauce.

Grilled turkey with mushroom sauce

1 1/4 pounds turkey breast filets

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 cups mushrooms (Shitake, button or any mix)

14 1/2 ounces turkey or chicken broth

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Olive oil

Set up the grill for medium direct heat. While it’s heating up, lightly coat the grill surface will olive oil to keep the meat from sticking.

Place a large skillet over medium/high heat on your stovetop. Coat the skillet with olive oil and toss in the mushrooms and onions. Stirring frequently, cook for about five minutes or until the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and turkey or chicken broth until the cornstarch has dissolved. Pour the broth mixture in with the mushrooms and add in the thyme, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil and stir until it thickens. Then remove it from the heat and cover.

Brush the wild turkey filets with olive oil and place them on the grill rack. Cook the turkey meat until done (5 to 7 minutes total), remembering to turn for even cooking.

Plate the meat and spoon the mushroom sauce over the filets.

Now that’s good eatin’. Hope y’all enjoy!

Brad Harvey is a freelance writer in Clover. Visit his website at www.bradharveyoutdoors.com or follow on Twitter @BHarveyOutdoors.

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