The executive chef of dine by Peter Gordon at SkyCity answers your cuisine questions.
Last week's question about cooking wild turkey generated a storm of email suggestions. I guess the hardest part of cooking a turkey is finding a tight dish the same size as the beast. It's possible that if the legs were taken off (they'll always be tough as wild turkeys run around so much more than domestic birds) one could just cook the breasts on the bone. It's good to know cider helps an old pheasant, I can almost taste the cider turkey now.
As my husband often gets pheasant, I throw the bird into a tight casserole dish, shove a cut up apple in its bum and empty a bottle of cider over it (so the said pheasant is swimming in the drink!). Cook it fairly slowly (three hours). I have tried roasting them in oven bags, but they still come out stringy. However the cider works wonderfully - bird very moist.
Free range wild turkey will always be tender when culled during the winter months (the months without the letter "r"). Wild turkeys during the remainder of the year? You may as well put them in a pot with a rock for hours, then throw out the turkey and eat the rock.
Only harvest turkeys at night, as there is a pecking order as they roost. The young yearlings are always on the bottom of the tree or perch, which means the best and tenderest are easiest to get. Pluck them or cut the breast out, then stuff them and rub a dry mix on the skin. Roast them in a traditional Weber kettle barbecue (the one that uses the briquettes, not gas). The average bird takes 90 minutes. It comes out white except the legs which are brown. It is tender and moist.
- Lindsay Rhind-Smith
I giggled to myself because I managed to cook the most tender succulent wild turkey ever, by fluke!
I have a fabulous recipe whereby I stuff hazelnut butter between the breast and skin, and, do all the usual stuffings. I thought I had it sussed until about an hour or so into cooking realised I had the oven on grill. At that stage had a mild panic as it was 8pm the night before and I didn't want to be up all night cooking this turkey so I turned the oven to bake at 50 degrees, put some water in the dish, covered the whole turkey in tinfoil and left it on all night, praying that it would all turn out okay. It was the most tender, juicy turkey you could imagine I think it was perhaps a combination of the hazelnut butter, and the tin foil almost steaming the turkey. I finished it off by taking the tin foil off to crisp up the skin. .
- Karen Cullen
If roasting, cover turkey with cold water and one cup malt vinegar and leave overnight to eliminate the wild taste. Dry with paper towel inside and out, and marinate in with three quarters of a cup of white wine for a few hours. Make up a dry seasoning stuffing. Cover with tinfoil, and cook slowly in a covered dish for about six hours.
Or cut into pieces and remove the skin, soak overnight in the water and vinegar mix then cook in a slow cooker for about 6 to 8 hours with half a cup of white wine, sliced onions, one packet french onion soup and a tin of apricots and juice (added in the last hour).
- Bruce Alderson
The trick to cooking wild turkeys is to "hang" them for a while before you cook them. I kept mine in the fridge for a couple of weeks and when cooked it was delicious and tender.
- Judy O'Halloran
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