Some hunters find wild turkey challenging to cook. It is lean and can dry out quickly. Cut your cooking time compared to domestic fowl to prevent it from drying out, especially breast meat. Using sauce and marinade will also help keep the meat moist and tender.
This is a classic Indian dish usually found as Butter Chicken. It is rich in flavor, and although there are lots of ingredients, the outcome is worth the effort. Don’t be afraid to try the recipe with pheasant, grouse, or quail.
3 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp chili flakes
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground caraway
1 boneless wild turkey breast (approximately 2 lbs), trimmed and cut into a few large pieces
1 ½ cups plain yogurt
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tbsp ground almonds
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp mango chutney (optional)
2 tsp ground garam masala
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 cups onions finely grated or pureed (about 1 ½ onions)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste
- Make the spice mix by combining the first 9 ingredients.
- Combine half the spice mixture with the yogurt in a resealable bag. Add the turkey and massage the yogurt mixture into the meat, making sure turkey is well covered. Let sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours, overnight is best.
- Place the turkey pieces on a foil-lined baking tray and ensure as much of the yogurt mixture stays on as possible. Broil for 6-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness, until the turkey is browned and mostly cooked through but a little pink in the middle. Pull out any smaller, thin pieces earlier. It’s key not to overcook the turkey as it will quickly dry out and get tough. Cut the turkey into 1 ½-inch pieces and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the second half of the spice mixture with the tomato sauce, brown sugar, curry, almonds, tomato paste, chutney and garam masala.
- Heat the butter to medium in a large non-stick pan, add the cumin and stir for 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant. Then add the onions and garlic and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the turkey and any juices remaining on the baking tray.
- Stir in the coconut milk, cream, and cilantro.
- Serve over basmati rice with naan bread on the side.
TIP: Make your own garam masala by combining ⅛ tsp each ground cardamom, ground cloves, ground black pepper, ground fennel seeds and ½ tsp each ground caraway, and ground cinnamon.