- Wild Turkey is as Versatile as Domestic Poultry
- Don’t Hesitate to Try Something New
- This Turkey Parmesan Recipe is Easy for Hunters
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.
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.
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.
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.