Before they left to go turkey hunting, my son warmed up his target practice and came back in to show me his target.
I told him if he keeps that up, the turkey won't have a chance!
And I was right! They weren't gone long, maybe 15 minutes, when I got a text from my husband with a picture of my son holding up his turkey. Wow! Upon driving up to our land, there the turkeys were. My son stepped out of the car, took aim, and hit his mark. They told me to get ready for the processing, as they were on their way home.
So, like the good wife that I am, I put a large pot of water on to boil, and mentally prepared myself for the adventure ahead.
WARNING: Somewhat graphic pictures below!
First job was to cut off the wings, as there wasn't much but feathers there.
Annie hovered around us, keeping a close eye on everything.
Then it was time to dip the turkey into the pot of boiling water to soften the feathers so they could be removed.
The large feathers came off really easily. It was the smaller feathers that took the longest.
Both my son and I pulled feathers while my husband held the turkey.
Here we have the turkey just about de-feathered. It had taken us about 20 minutes to get to this point.
Annie never took her eye off the bird. She stayed close by, carefully watching everything! The next part, which I did not take any pictures of, was cutting open the carcass, and gutting it. That was a pretty messy job. Since the shot hit the turkey in one breast, we lost about half the breast. We realized that this turkey, although she looked big with all her feathers, once de-feathered, she was very tiny, maybe about 10 pounds, if that. There wasn't any meat to speak of on the legs!
Because there wasn't much left to cook, and because one part of the breast had to be discarded, we decided that the crock pot was the best way to get the most of the meat left on the bones, and I would save the breast to be eaten later.
I put the turkey in the crock pot, along with some other vegetables, and a bay leaf, and some salt, and let it cook slowly for a day or so. Because my husband had to leave for work, we decided to freeze the broth and breast meat, and wait until he returned home to make the meat into a meal.
So here it is... the turkey in the pot! This is all of the meat that we got out of the turkey. About 1-1/2 of the breast.
I added some butter, and seasoning, and roasted the turkey breast in the pan just until it was lightly browned. Then I added some of the turkey broth to the pan to deglaze the fat and juices.
Then I added in a jar of my homemade cream of mushroom soup.
And the rest of my carrots from my garden. These were the wee-ones that I didn't want to put in the dehydrator, and had saved them just for this meal.
And I added some Mrs. Dash seasoning, and my own dehydrated sage leaves and thyme - just a couple of leaves of sage, and a couple of twigs of thyme.
Mixed it all together... and let it simmer away for an hour or so. The house began to smell heavenly!
After simmering for an hour or so, the breasts had softened and there was a nice gravy that had formed. I gently tore the meat with two forks.
I cooked up some homemade mashed potatoes, and corn, along with homemade sourdough bread, and served up the turkey for dinner. As we sat down to enjoy the meal, all of us were amazed at the fact that the turkey did not taste "wild" at all! It simply was absolutely divinely delicious! All plates were just about licked clean, and even Annie didn't get any scraps from it!
After devouring the delicious meal that the turkey provided, my son decided that perhaps turkeys aren't "that much work" cleaning after all, and thinks he or my husband may try for another one. I agreed. I was amazed at how wonderful the turkey breast tasted, without any "wild" flavor at all. It was good enough to serve up for Thanksgiving day!
So, now you know that wild turkey can be delicious! I have heard differing reports on how to cook wild turkey, and I was more than a little concerned that my efforts at cooking the turkey would be in vain, but we were all hugely surprised at how wonderful this turkey tasted, in fact, so much so, that my daughter may try her hand next at one... I'll keep you posted on that!