There is no hunt that requires a greater sense of poise than wild turkey.
A hunter sits with his or her back to a tree to distort their silhouette, ignoring knots forming in their backs and numb calves after hours of motionless focus.
A paranoia persists: What is out there that I can’t see, watching me?
Every movement in a turkey blind must be calculated, perhaps even rehearsed, to act appropriately when those few seconds of opportunity arrive.
Turkey hunting, especially in the spring, teaches the hunter one very important lesson: endure.
A patient sport pairs well with a diligent recipe. The real work for this Thai red curry, like the hunt itself, lies in the waiting.
1 gallon water
¾ cup non-iodized salt
1 cup brown sugar
6 ounces fresh ginger, smashed
1 garlic bulb, peeled and smash
1 sliced jalapeño
Thai turkey red curry soup ingredients
8 to 10 ounces wild turkey, butterflied and brined
4 cans 13.5 fl. oz. unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1½ tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
(Add below ingredients shortly before serving)
1 tablespoon butter
½ medium onion, bi-julienne and lightly sautéed
1 red bell pepper, bi-julienne and lightly sautéed
1 poblano pepper, bi-julienne and lightly sautéed
2 tablespoons corn starch and water slurry
1 cup brown jasmine rice
1¼ cups cold water
Fresh basil, cut chiffonade
Crushed Planters chipotle peanuts
To prepare turkey breast: Butterfly breast and lightly tenderize with meat mallet. Brine overnight (no more than 24 hours) and rinse thoroughly upon removing from brine. Halfway through the hour for which soup is meant to simmer, preheat oven to 425 F. Cook breast for approximately 10 minutes, until internal temperatures reads 160 F. Set aside to cool. Hand-shred and add to soup.
To start soup: In a large soup pot, combine coconut milk, chicken stock, lime juice and curry paste and set heat to simmer. Add freshly minced garlic and ginger, brown sugar, kosher salt and white pepper. Let simmer for an hour, stirring intermittently. Salt to taste.
To sauté vegetables: Cut all vegetables julienne (into strips then in half). Add butter to large skillet and heat to medium-high. Add vegetables and thoroughly sauté but remove from heat before they turn very soft (approximately five to eight minutes). Set aside and add to soup 10 minutes before ready to serve.
To cook rice: In a small pot, combine 1 cup rice with 1¼ cups cold water. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Immediately turn heat to low. Turn off heat once most of water is absorbed and leave covered.
To finish soup: Add sautéed vegetables after an hour of simmering. To create corn starch slurry, add 2 tablespoons of corn starch to a mixing bowl and drizzle cold water (about 1 to 2 teaspoons) overtop. Use fingers to mix until liquefied and add to soup, stir thoroughly until soup thickens. Add cooked rice, stir. For fresh basil garnish (optional), roll leaves together like a cigar, cut roll perpendicular into thin strip. Crush peanuts in Ziploc back. Garnish soup with peanuts and basil. Makes six servings.
Former line cook and passionate denizen of the outdoors, Jack Hennessy, is the author of the blog “Braising the Wild.” He lives with his wife in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @WildGameJack or at Facebook.com/BraisingtheWild.