Friday, April 30, 2010

Let's hear it for the Red, White, and Blue: Spring Turkey opens May 1st!

New York State is one of the top turkey hunting states in the East. The spring seasons lasts from May 1 until May 31st with hunting in the mornings (1/2 hour before sunrise until noon) and a 2 tom limit for the season (as in, a bearded turkey...a jake will do, but no hens). To get more information about Wild Turkey hunting, including harvesting information and safety, look at the NY State DEC website.

Wild turkeys were nearly extinct in New York State a hundred years ago due to habitat loss and over hunting, but with proper management, they have made an incredible recovery. More can be read about this interesting history in NYS DEC's "Wild Turkey Management Plan". The plan outlines the history of wild turkeys in the state and their re-establishment. The Wild Turkey Management Plan also states, "Now that the wild turkey has been restored to New York State, our goal is to ensure that a vigorous, self-sustaining population is maintained in all suitable habitats of the State. Furthermore, turkeys will be managed to best meet the needs and desires of the people of the State of New York, using the steps outlined in this plan." In managing New York’s wild turkey resource, DEC focuses on four primary areas; Monitoring and Protecting the Wild Turkey Population; Public Use and Enjoyment of the Wild Turkey; Turkey Nuisance and Damage Management; Information and Outreach. Thanks to proper management wild turkey can be on the dinner table in Seneca County!

I have found the easiest way to prepare a turkey is by breasting it. Lay the turkey on its back, and cut a small incision along the top of the breast bone just long enough to be able to grab the skin to pull it back. The skin with the feathers should easily pull away from the breast meat. Once the breast meat is exposed, carefully run your knife (a fillet or boning knife works well) along the breast bone and ribs until the breast is cut free. Be careful not to cut the crop which is located at the top of the breast bones (inside the v shape) and can be a bit stinky. There are a few useful videos of turkey breasting posted on You Tube (use your discretion, I am not endorsing this particular video or any of them). There will be a lot of meat with each breast which can be used in any turkey breast recipe, and the flavor will be more intense and delicious. If you wrap the meat in butcher paper it will keep in the freezer for a good six months (until Thanksgiving). Often there are some scraps of meat still on the bird after the breasts are removed, including some thigh and leg meat which can be tough if traditionally cooked as whole pieces. I remove any remaining white pieces of meat and choice pieces of leg meat to use for the following recipe....

Wild Turkey with Sherry and Broccoli
1 lb turkey,wild caught (cooked pieces)
1 bunch broccoli, washed and chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1.5 cup skim milk
.5 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sherry wine
2 t. worcestershire sauce
2 T. grated parmesan cheese

If starting with raw turkey pieces, saute turkey pieces in a greased (either with cooking spray or a little olive oil) fry pan over medium heat until just cooked through (about 5 minutes). Cook broccoli either in microwave or steamer until barely tender (about 3-4 minutes). Arrange the broccoli on the bottom of a greased casserole (or 9x11 inch) dish and then layer the cooked turkey meat on top of the broccoli. Meanwhile heat butter in sauce pan over medium heat and add the flour. Stir and cook about 2 minutes to form a roux (a paste). Gradually stir in milk and chicken broth and cook until sauce thickens. This may take 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste, then add sherry wine. Cook 1 minute longer. Pour the sauce over the turkey and broccoli. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (and some parsley flakes, if you have them). Bake in a 400 degree oven for 2o minutes. Serves 4. This recipe is very tasty served over wild rice. Wild turkey has less fat and more protein than traditional birds bought from the grocer and typically has more polyunsaturated (good) fat and less saturated fat. The attached nutrition label is based on farm turkey, so the fat and protein content will be slightly different using wild turkey (a healthier difference).

No comments:

Post a Comment