By Josh Boyd
Turkey season offers the eager hunter a wealth of opportunity, much of which is centered around the hunt itself. This period of time allows us to make memories with friends and family, take in beautiful spring sunrises, and of course, chase one of the most magnificent game animals that our nation has to offer.
However, at least some of the opportunity that spring turkey season affords us, comes after the conclusion of a successful hunt. When the tides of fate have turned our way, and we have connected on a hard gobbling longbeard, opportunity comes in the form of being able to experiment with some savory recipes when preparing our take for the table.
Although it is always rewarding to dream up a completely new recipe from scratch, sometimes reinventing the wheel is not necessary to put together a wonderful wild game dish that all will enjoy. One fine example of this is the wild turkey and dumplings.
Chicken and dumplings has long been known as a hearty country dish that can satisfy even the most wholesome of appetites. Though chicken is the long-standing staple of this dish, it might come as a surprise to many that this is a meal just as well prepared with the use of wild turkey.
Gather Your Supplies and Ingredients
Before beginning, gather all supplies and ingredients that you will need during the cooking process. This streamlines the process and ensures that everything you need is at your disposal, allowing you to prepare your dish in a trouble-free manner.
Turkey and Broth
* 12 cups water
* 6 chicken bouillon cubes
* 1.5- 2 lbs wild turkey breast
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp pepper
* 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Original Blend
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* ½ tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp salt
* 3 tbsp lard
* 1 cup water
Prepare Turkey and Broth
With all of your ingredients at the ready, you can begin the process of preparing the dish itself. The first item of business is to cut your turkey into properly sized cubes. The ideal size for these cubes is generally ½ inch, with a thickness equal to that of the breast.
Next, locate a stock pan that is adequate in size to prepare your broth. You will first add twelve-cups of water to this pan, followed by the ingredients that you previously set aside for producing your broth.
With the addition of your bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash seasoning, all in the above-mentioned serving sizes, begin to bring the broth to a boil. As the broth begins to warm, place your turkey cubes into the same pan.
Continue cooking this turkey/broth mixture until the turkey becomes tender and is cooked throughout. When you have reached this point, remove your pot from the stovetop burner and set it to the side.
You will now prepare your dumplings. In fact, this step can actually be conducted during the period of time in which your broth is being brought to a boil to expedite the process.
Begin by placing your flour, baking powder, salt, lard, and water into a suitable mixing bowl. Mix these ingredients until they are all evenly blended. When ready, your dough should have a thick, sticky consistency.
Place your dough onto a flour-covered cutting board or other similar work surface. It is also beneficial to coat your hands, as well as your rolling pin, in flour. You will now roll the dough out into a ¼ inch thick sheet. Next cut your dumplings into 1-inch squares, setting each aside for the step to come.
Ready Broth to Introduce Dumplings
At this time, you will return to the broth that you previously set aside. Remove all turkey cubes from your broth, and return your pan to the stove. Turn the stovetop burner back on, and bring your broth to a boil once more.
Now, drop each dumpling into the broth, carefully ensuring that no sticking is occurring. Continue cooking until all dumplings are done and have begun floating in the broth. At this point, you will reintroduce the cubed turkey into your pan, where it will be allowed to warm back to a temperature that is consistent with the rest of the mixture.
Once this is complete, you will turn off your burner, remove your pan, and allow the mixture to cool to a temperature that is safe for consumption.
It is also worth mentioning that this recipe can easily be varied to cater to any individual tastes. Many traditionally include vegetables such as celery and carrots in other dumpling dishes, and the same can be done in this instance.
Additionally, you can substitute a wide variety of other seasonings into your broth as well. There is no right or wrong way to season the broth, so long as you are satisfied with the results.
A Different Spin on Turkey
Though turkey and dumplings are likely not the first dish that comes to mind when pondering what to prepare for dinner on the evening of a successful hunt, given a try, it can easily become a mainstay in your wild turkey cooking repertoire. This spring when everything falls into place as we all wish for it to, try something a little unconventional and give turkey and dumplings a try. You will undoubtedly be quite pleased that you did.