Wild Turkey Biryani

This day was one that will be at the forefront of the memory bank. The Vermont mountains were covered in snow with a fierce north wind blowing. I woke at 2:20 a.m. to slip in and set up on a bad bird that had been shot at the morning before. He was there 50 yards in front of me, and I sat motionless for two hours in the frigid snow and wind waiting for him to pitch down. He finally came to me, but when I went to take the shot at 25 yards, the snow had built up on the rail of my gun so much that I could not see the bead. I tried to point and shoot. Missed. He ran and I missed again before heflew away forever. My fingers and entire body were numb from the cold as I chunked my hat on the ground in disgust.

Fast forward three and a half hours as I continued to cover ground looking for a new contender in my last hours hunting Vermont before departing for home in Tennessee. The wind was howling. I pulled in to my last stop before leaving for the return trip home. I climbed the mountain still searching but frustrated from the morning. I struck him with some pleading yelps at 8:35 a.m., and he was laying at my feet at 8:40. He came in running and gobbling his head off. A true Vermont limbhanger.



No matter what happens, you must persist to find turkeys. A positive attitude and failure to give up pay off more often than not.

I was inspired to make this recipe by my Uber driver while vacationing with my wife in New York City. I mentioned that I was an avid turkey hunter and loved cooking and eating the birds. Our driver was from India, and I asked him for his favorite traditional Indian dish. He replied that it was definitely biryani. I promised him that when I returned home I would make a wild turkey biryani dish, and I wanted to share it with the NWFF flock!


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boned turkey breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 5 tablespoons prepared ginger paste
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 4½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced unsalted almonds
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Heat ghee over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet or frying pan. Once oil is shimmering, add wild turkey and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Turn wild turkey pieces over and let them continue to cook.
  3. Add the onion, jalapeno, ginger, salt, garam masala, cumin, turmeric and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, tomatoes and raisins to the pan. Stir well and add rice and broth. Allow the liquid to come to a boil, then cover the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. Let the rice steam for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork.
  6. Re-cover the pan, and allow rice to continue to steam for another 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and almond slices.
  8. Serve the biryani straight out of the pan, accompanied by lime wedges for squeezing.
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