One of the things that I love best about West Virginia is our lack of dependence on the commercial food chain. It takes time to learn how to make delicious meals with wild game, but I would not live any other way. We have been very fortunate over they years to have found some really wonderful hunting locations that supply my family with lots of wild turkey every spring. I even tried to hunt a couple of days this year, even in the cast. Tom and I never even saw a turkey those days, but he was lucky to fill his tags for the spring. Cody my oldest son was not able to go this spring as he was moving but this is a nice bird from last season. On average the birds weigh about 15 to 18 pound uncleaned and we get around 6 to 8 pounds of white breast meat per bird.
The legs and thighs are for making poultry stock and any thing with a diced meat like pot pie. The the dark meat from the legs and thighs is tougher than their domestic counter parts. They actually have to scratch, hunt and peck for their food so those legs have to work a lot harder than those white birds.
So after we clean and butcher the turkey we are left with two large breasts. Usually they are to large for just Tom, Christopher and I to eat all in one meal. We either invite friends over or some times when we are in a rush I just toss a whole breast in the slow cooker and use the left overs for another nights meal.
Once a person eats well cooked wild turkey there is rarely a person who goes back to domestic turkey. Wild turkey is not dry and is not so pumped up on steroids so the meat is not as thick so it cooks more evenly. This means that seasoning and marinades penetrate the meat more fully.
In my case we make a soup stock to cook the turkey in and then thicken the broth at the end for a pan sauce with all the flavors you cooked the turkey in. I like it over mashed potatoes just like gravy.
Slow Cooker Wild Turkey Breast
1. 5 to 6 pound wild turkey breast off the bone.
2. 1 large carrot.
3. 1/2 med sweet onion..
4. 2 teaspoons minced garlic.
5. 2 teaspoons celery flakes ( do not like eating celery so I opt for the flakes if you have fresh celery use about 1/2 cup).
6. 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning.
7. 3 teaspoons butte.r
8. 1 cup white wine.
9. 2 bullion cubes in two cups water or two cups chicken stock.
10. 1/4 cup corn starch and 1/2 cup water to make as a thickener for sauce.
Starting with the turkey breast, remove any pin feathers, fat or connective tissue that remains after butchering. Set a side as you prepare the broth that the breast simmer in.
turkey breast with pin feather showing
When finished cleaning the breast, I make what will be a traditional chicken soup starter. I start with heating up the slow cooker adding my water and bouillon or stock to the cooker.
slow cooker with water and bouillon
Next I saute’ the remaining items on the above list until the onions are translucent and the carrots and garlic are soft.
Slowly adding in the wine as the mixture softens. I let everything simmer together for couple of minutes and then add all of this to my warming stock.
Vegetables and spices added to stock
At this point I taste the broth and adjust salt and pepper. I usually add a little salt at this point.Then add the breast and cover with the cooker lid and simmer two hours adding wine or water if the broth is boiling away to quickly to keep the breast moist. I like to have the broth reach up about half way up the side of the meat.
wild turkey breast in broth
I let the breast cook another 3 hours and check for tenderness and doness. I try to pick the breast up with a serving fork and if it is ready is will not stay together well enough to use a fork alone. It will begin to fall apart.
I then turn off the slow cooker and let it sit a few minutes. As it cools and I begin to thicken the broth on the stove. I place a small pan on the stove with 2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with about 1/4 cup water. Then I ladle about 1 1/2 cups of broth out of the stock pot into the sauce pan and heat over med-low until the sauce begins to thicken. Making a sauce with a nice chicken noodle soup flavor.
Corn Starch and water mixture
I then remove the breast from the slow cooker, cut thin slices and drizzle with sauce. We served this with southern side dishes of mashed potatoes, seasoned green beans with bacon and fresh cantaloupe.
simple southern wild turkey dinner
Just as a funny side note as I was cooking I needed to open another bottle of wine for this recipe and got the cork screw out as the veggies were cooking away and tried to open the bottle. Well in all of my years of drinking and cooking with wine I have never ever had this happen.
Broken cork floating in wine bottle
cork chewed up by cork screw
No mattered what I did, the cork screw just slowly descended into the cork and would not grip the cork. I lowered the handles and nothing happened. The screw just popped out and the cork just sat there with chunks of cork falling all over the counter. What a mess, I tried again and the mess just got bigger. I then got desperate and just tried to pry the cork out with a knife. A mistake I know, but my dinner was going to burn and I needed to get the darn things open!
Any suggestion on what to do if I face this situation again? Maybe I will just go with Wild Turkey in the bottle instead of wine and make a double wild turkey dinner in stead.