Cooking Wild Recipe: Italian-style Wild Turkey Fingers

DEPT_cooking-wildHere’s a tasty recipe that is well-suited for a less-than-platter-perfect bird! It’s always been a big winner with my gang, especially when served with an array of homemade, mouthwatering dipping sauces that make dunking exciting and fun.

These crispy, golden turkey fingers can be served as an appetizer, in which case you’ll find the breast of your special prize will whet the appetites of the whole hunting party. Of course, if you are going to be serving them as the main meal of the day, you’ll want to pair the fingers up with French fries in order for a pound or two of breast meat to feed about four.

Start the meal with Turkey and Wild Rice Soup made from the carcass of the bird along with dark meat, skin and trims that are two small for breading and you’ve got a memorable wild turkey feast.

You can make your own Italian seasoned bread crumbs as I do by saving up crusts and odds ends of bread, drying them in the oven at lowest setting until crisp, crushing into crumbs then seasoning with dried parsley, basil, oregano, black pepper, garlic and onion powder and a shake of grated parmesan cheese. Or you can use store-bought Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, which cut down on preparation time.

Breaded Wild Turkey Fingers

  • Wild turkey breasts cut into 1-inch strips
  • (If your bird does not feel “tender to the knife” or if it has suffered severe shot damage you can marinate it in white wine for several hours to tenderize the meat and to improve flavour)
  •  1 egg
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2—or more cups Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying

If meat has been marinated, remove from wine and pat dry with paper towels. Combine egg with mayonnaise and sour cream and mix well. Dip turkey strips into egg mixture and dredge in crumbs, pressing to ensure an even coat. Place on waxed paper and let stand about 15 minutes in order for crumbs to adhere. Heat a frying depth of oil in cast iron or heavy skillet, fry the fingers until crispy and golden on both sides and meat is cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper.

Serve with one or more of the dipping sauces below. Recipes make about one cup of dip. Leftover Oriental and Red-Hot dips can be saved in the fridge for up to a week. The Mayo-mustard dip should not be kept for more than a day or two.

Baked Wild Turkey Fingers

If you want to cut down on the fat content of your meal, place the breaded turkey fingers on non-stick baking sheets and bake in 375 degrees Fahrenheit oven until crispy and golden, about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness of meat.

Oriental Dip

Mix 3/4 cup liquid honey with two tablespoons soy sauce, two tablespoons sweet chili sauce or ketchup, one teaspoon sesame oil minced garlic and fresh grated ginger to taste

Mayo-Mustard Dip

Mix ¾ cup mayonnaise with two tablespoons Dijon mustard, two tablespoons liquid honey and fresh minced rosemary or basil to taste

Mayo-Horseradish Dip

Use prepared horseradish in place of mustard in above recipe. Omit herbs and add some mashed garlic, if desired.

Red-hot Dip

For those who like it hot! Mix 3/4-cup spicy ketchup with one to two tablespoons hot sauce or enough to light your fire, honey to sweeten, minced garlic to taste and a pinch of dried chilies for good measure

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

  •  1 turkey carcass (bones, giblets, skin and trims)
  • 6 cups water
  • Few springs each of fresh rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley (or dried herbs to suit taste)
  • ¼ cup chopped celery leaves
  • 1 large leek (green top chopped fine and bottom of leek cut into thin rings)
  • 2 stalks diced celery
  • 1 diced parsnip
  • 2 diced carrots
  • ½ cup diced turnip
  • ½ cup wild rice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put turkey pieces into soup pot. Add water, herbs and celery leaves, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer one hour. Drain broth through a sieve. Remove any available meat from bones and return to stock. Minced the giblets and add to the pot. Discard spent bones. Add remaining ingredients. Return to stove and simmer covered over low heat until vegetables are tender and rice is cooked.

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