Turkey season in West Virginia starts on the first week of May and runs through to the end of the month. My Husband started hunting the timid birds as teen with some success, but had taken many years off from hunting them recently. With more time to pursue hunting, Tom thought it would nice to see if turkeys were still in the area. Within two trips to the woods he brough home this. A nice gobbler that was not to old to eat and enjoy.
Then my husband teased our older son Cody “you need to see if you could keep up with the old man” and get one for himself. Well in “show up my dad style” my son also got his turkey the very next day. Two large gobblers in two days what a great weekend.
So early friday morning I got my first lesson on wild turkey cleaning, processing and cooking. With the help of family friends, we were able to get a quick lesson on cleaning a turkey.Ken suggested that we “NOT CLEAN” the whole bird. “You will only need to clean the whole bird if you are not going to roast it” he stated.Ken also suggested that we only “remove the breast and thighs of the bird to eat and leave the rest.” So by mid morning,working on the tail gate of our pick up, my husband and I removed the parts of the bird that we planed to eat. We also removed the tail fathers and wings for crafts with natural fathers. By skinning the bird instead of plucking it, the entire process took less than 20 minutes we had no feathers to remove and no entrails to clean up. The meat was fresh and clean and ready to eat or freeze quicker then I could drive to the local store to buy meat.
With the meat removed, washed and frozen. I started the process of looking and asking friends about their favorite Wild Turkey recipes. Wild Turkey is extremely low in fat and moisture and can easily be over cooked. So, with this in mind I went to the National Wild Turkey Federations web site for help…at www.nwtf.org/tips_adventures/recipes.php. They have a nice collection of recipes and Tom and I chose one for Turkey cutlets.
The process is very simple and the list of ingredients is short, almost everyone will have these items in their home. All of these items can switched out with store-bought organics… making a 100% organic main course
2 whole wild turkey breasts
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/3 bottle of zesty Italian salad dressing ( I use Wishbone)
1/4 of a pound real butter
First take the wild turkey breast and cut slices across the grain of the meat about 1/4 of an inch thick. The slices will vary in size, some large and some small. I also cut the tender strip of meat that is on the back of the breast and removed the tough tissues from its middle section before cooking.
Place all the these pieces into a gallon zip lock bag adding enough zesty italian salad dressing to cover the turkey and mix dressing into the meat to cover every piece.
Let sit in refrigerator for about 3 hours.
heat 3 teaspoons butter in large skillet and roll cutlets in remaining ingredients of flour, salt and pepper mixture.
Fry cutlets over low heat until turkey is firm and is easily picked up with a fork. This may take more time for larger cutlets and short time for smaller ones.
Brown them slowly on both sides( low to low-med heat) adding butter as needed. I remove the first batch to a paper towel covered plate, putting them in a 200 deg oven to keep warm, as I fry the next batch of turkey. Two breasts easily feeds 4 to 5 adults and we have found that the kids love these home-made turkey tenders also.When serving the cutlets if they are not cooked to long, we omit any sauces. But, if you like to dip chicken/ turkey in a sauce we used honey mustard, and it was very good.
The flavor of the turkey is mild, yet more buttery then domestic turkey, cooked this way it has become a family favorite. As of this weekend, we have eaten every bite of the 4 turkey breasts the boys brought home this spring. My family will have to wait until next year to have this dinner again, and that is a long time coming. Now I may just have to get my gun out and get my own next year.
Happy hunting and cooking, hope to have another Wild Turkey recipe posted soon.Wild Turkey Pot Pie… this one is our own family creation. I just have to redo the spices and type up some thing our family already loves.