Scrumptious Wild Turkey Cookery

  • Wild Turkey is as Versatile as Domestic Poultry
  • Don’t Hesitate to Try Something New
  • This Turkey Parmesan Recipe is Easy for Hunters
Bon appetite! Served with hearty bread and left-over wine, wild turkey is simple to make and is delicious beyond measure, especially with a young bird.

By Jim Low

Rain and wind made hunting conditions less than ideal for the first week of this year’s spring turkey season in Missouri.  As a result, I wasn’t feeling choosy when a sassy jake made amorous advances to my hen decoy at 6:30 Sunday morning. 

Slice breast meat across the grain before flattening each cutlet.

Bragging rights don’t come with shooting jakes, but the upside is that they are fine eating. 

 I put the legs in the pressure cooker for half an hour and boned out the meat, then ran it through the meat grinder for use in turkey salad sandwiches.  I don’t use seasonings, because wild turkey leg meat has its own rich flavor, as if it had been cooked with a mix of herbs.

I planned to brine the breast halves and smoke them over charcoal and sassafras wood, but before I got started, I sat down to spend a little time with my long-suffering wife.  She was watching a cooking show, where the celebrity chef was making chicken parmesan.  It looked so good, I decided to try it with some of my jake’s breast meat.  It was amazing.  I didn’t measure anything, but here’s how to do it.

Slice about a pound of breast meat across the grain half an inch thick and flatten the resulting cutlets with a tenderizing mallet.  Coat both sides with equal parts of grated parmesan cheese and Italian-flavored bread crumbs.  Fry the cutlets in a big, deep skillet or Dutch oven with olive oil until they are golden brown. Transfer them to a plate and set aside.

Coat cutlets with bread crumbs and fry in olive oil.

Add olive oil to the skillet and sauté three medium-sized, diced yellow onions and three large cloves of minced garlic until the onions begin to brown. 

Add an 8-ounce bottle of sun-dried tomatoes – including the oil they were packed in – and cook another five minutes.  Remove the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Add 1½ cups of dry white wine to the skillet and scrape the bottom to dislodge the delicious remains of frying.  Simmer this liquid until it is reduced by half.  Add 8 ounces of tomato sauce and season with fennel, oregano, rosemary and/or basil. 

Sauté onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes until the onions caramelize.

Return the onion mixture to the skillet and stir in an undrained, 8-ounce can of mushroom pieces.   

Place the turkey cutlets on top, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with toasted and buttered slices of hearty, herbed bread.  I happened to have a loaf of “herb de Provence” bread that I bought for half-price from the mark-down rack at a local supermarket. It was perfect for the occasion.  Crusty French bread would be good, too.

Add a dollop of sour cream on the side if you aren’t afraid of the calories.  

Garnish with fresh chopped scallions and shaved parmesan cheese, and congratulate yourself for doing justice to a magnificent game bird.

Add white wine, tomato sauce, mushrooms, seasonings and meat.