February 2018
Your Next Meal From the Wildside

Calling All Toms

Learning to call wild turkeys can be great fun for kids and will hopefully soon lead to some delicious meals.

We had no idea how we could have missed anything orange or Thanksgiving-themed still sitting out among all of the traditional Christmas red and green that took over our house in December. But there I was putting away holiday decorations after Christmas, when Rolley Len and Cason spotted something that had a turkey on it. Inspired by the sight of a turkey out of season, Cason began to do a wattle dance. Then they both started making turkey calls.

I told Rolley Len and Cason to keep the calls coming because it won’t be too long before they could go hunting for a real wild turkey to bring home for our next meal. Now is the time for them to practice their calls for the spring hunting season. Judging from their turkey warbles that day, they definitely need some finishing work before heading out to the woods.

Most kids can learn a new skill such as calling wildlife by watching others or reading a how-to article, but actually participating in the activity firsthand can make the most difference for a young hunter. Making a lot of noise before your hunt may muddle your chance of success, so try to find time to teach your children how to call a turkey and practice before you actually go on the hunt.

Also be sure to have an extra turkey call just for them to use during your adventure so they can be an active part of the hunt. Developing a good call happens through experience, meaning they need plenty of opportunities to try out their abilities.

In the next few weeks, Jason will have to practice with Rolley Len and Cason before turkey season. If they are lucky, they can successfully call a tom on their own, and maybe they will get to watch a tom do his own majestic wattle dance. 

For audio of different turkey calls, visit:

http://www.nwtf.org/hunt/wild-turkey-basics/turkey-sounds

 

WILD TURKEY POTPIE WITH HOMEMADE CRUST

Crust
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1-1½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup ice water
1 egg (used before baking)
Filling
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste, divided
2½ pounds boneless, skinless wild turkey meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
Water, divided
1 cup pearl onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
¼-½ cup chopped carrots
¼-½ cup green peas
3 cups chicken stock
5 Tablespoons butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/3 cup light cream

Crust

In a food processor, combine and pulse flour, pepper and salt. Add butter, a few cubes at a time and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle in ice water. Pulse until dough starts to come together and pulls away from sides. Transfer to a floured surface. Form into a ball (it will not be smooth). If it doesn’t come together, add more cold water, a tablespoon at a time. Flatten ball into a thick circle, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Filling

Heat oven to 375°. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper turkey generously. Add to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Set turkey aside.

If not already cooked, prepare pearl onions. In a medium saucepan, bring quart of water to boil. Add onions. Boil for about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool in cold water.

In separate pan, add remaining oil with garlic, celery, potatoes, carrots and peas. Cook until vegetables soften. Stir in onions. Set aside. 

In a small pot, bring chicken stock to a boil.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour for 1 minute. Add stock, milk and cream. Once it boils, turn heat down to low and let simmer, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. 

In a large baking dish, place turkey and vegetables. Cover with cream mixture. Stir gently to combine.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to form a circle about an inch wider than dish. Drape it over dish and pinch edge to make a sealed rim. Use a sharp knife to pop vents in top. 

In a small bowl, make an egg wash by beating egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush top with egg mixture. Bake for 40 minutes, or until crust is golden.

 

TURKEY NUGGETS – KID FAVORITE

Cooking spray
1½ pounds boneless turkey cutlets
1¼ cups seasoned breadcrumbs
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
5 Tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or use aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, slice turkey cutlets into nuggets, about 2-inch pieces.

Into a gallon plastic bag, pour breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Pour olive oil over turkey. Stir with a spoon to coat.

Place a few nuggets at a time into breadcrumb mixture. Seal bag. Shake well enough to coat all pieces.

Arrange nuggets in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all nuggets are on baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until turkey is thoroughly cooked.

 

 

Christy Kirk is a freelance writer who lives in Little Texas.