A finished dish of wild turkey enchiladas rests on a counter
A finished dish of wild turkey enchiladas rests on a counter
Read on for Bob Krajczynski’s wild turkey enchilada recipe. (Bob Krajczynski)

Hunters share field-to-table recipes for resident game birds

Today we are celebrating upland bird and turkey recipes from fellow hunters who heard our call to share their culinary craft with other outdoorsmen and women.

Whether it was a tasty forest grouse recipe for camp cooking or a full-on wild turkey dinner, we asked hunters to send in their favorite recipes and they answered.

So, if you had a good season already and have some birds in the freezer or are getting in late-season hunts for quail, chukar, gray partridge, or pheasant in Eastern Washington before those seasons close Jan. 18, read on for the recipes we received. There’s a variety of pheasant and turkey dishes, as well as approaches for quail and grouse.

Thank you to those who took a moment to share their journey from upland to the kitchen with fellow hunters both new and seasoned!

And the oven door’s not closed yet on this blog: We came up light on chukar and gray partridge recipes so if you have one to share, we welcome it for inclusion in this blog. Also, while grouse and quail are represented here, we welcome more recipes for those birds as well. In the meanwhile, you can often substitute game birds as needed for different recipes, with some adjustments for size.

To have your field-to-fork fare featured, send in your favorite recipes for chukar, gray partridge, quail, or forest grouse to Wildcontest@dfw.wa.gov, and be sure to include your name so we can give you credit in the blog. If you have photos of your dish in process or plated, please send them in as well.

PHEASANT

Ingredients

· Chanterelles

· Two pheasants, pieced

· Four cloves of garlic, diced

· Two medium or large shallots

· One bunch fresh parsley

· Flour

· Lots of freshly ground black pepper

· Sea salt or pink salt to taste; light is better

· 1 cup heavy cream

· 2 tablespoons butter

· 1/3 cup white wine

A rooster pheasant stands in a green clearing
A rooster pheasant stands in a green clearing

Directions
Lightly salt chanterelles and dry fry to reduce water. Set aside.

Cut up two pheasants. Cut breast off bone and split each breast in three strips. Leave legs and thighs together. Dredge in flour, salt, and pepper, then fry in half the butter. A splash of olive oil will keep the butter from burning. Set aside.

In a large skillet with the other half of the butter, add the garlic and shallots and fry until just starting to brown.

Add chanterelles and wine. Mix well and cook until the mushrooms firm a little and the wine reduces a little, about 2–3 minutes.

Add 1 cup cream and cook another 2–3 minutes.

Add pheasants and mix well until warm.

Garnish with parsley and lots of freshly ground pepper and enjoy.

— John Owens

Lonnie Hoxie sent in this recipe, giving credit to Madysun Kent for its creation.

Pheasant nuggets cook in a cast iron skillet
Pheasant nuggets cook in a cast iron skillet
Cook your pheasant nuggets for about 4 minutes per side. (Lonnie Hoxie)

Ingredients

· Pheasant breasts

· 1–2 eggs

· Breadcrumbs and flour. (Use equal portions of both; amount depends on how much meat you are cooking. You can add cornmeal but not as much.)

· Salt and pepper

· Peanut oil

· Olive oil

Directions

Place a frying pan (cast iron skillet is recommended) on the stove and let it heat to medium.

Mix the breadcrumbs and flour, and add the salt and pepper to your liking.

Put the eggs in a separate bowl and whisk.

Cut the breasts into about 1 ½-inch pieces or slightly larger.

Using peanut oil and some olive oil, pour about 2 inches worth in the frying pan.

Take your breast meat pieces and dip them first into the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture, making sure they are evenly coated for best results.

Place the pieces in the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes on each side

— Lonnie Hoxie

A California quail perches on a branch
A California quail perches on a branch

QUAIL

Ron Oules sent in this quail recipe, adding that you’ll “devour a day’s limit in minutes!”

Ingredients

· Quail

· Eggs

· Breadcrumbs

· Ranch or another dry powder mix

Directions

It’s super simple: Skin back the breast and remove the legs.

Then filet the breasts off and cut the halves in half lengthwise. Separate the inner layer of meat. Cut the legs off at skin level.

Egg and bread the meat with crumbs and ranch or any other dry powder mix.

Air fry at 390 degrees for 4 minutes.

— Ron Oules

A hen blue grouse perches on a pine branch
A hen blue grouse perches on a pine branch

GROUSE

Ingredients

· Forest grouse

· Huckleberries to fill body cavity

· Bacon grease for browning

Directions

Take a whole forest grouse and stuff the body cavity with huckleberries.

Tie the legs to keep the berries from falling out, and brown the grouse in bacon grease.

Then wrap the bird in aluminum foil and bake in the oven at 275 degrees for 45 minutes.

— Kevin Durland

TURKEY

Bob Krajczynski shared this recipe and said he hopes you try it and enjoy it!

A baking dish of wild turkey enchiladas rests on a counter
A baking dish of wild turkey enchiladas rests on a counter
This recipe will fill several baking dishes with wild turkey enchiladas. (Bob Krajczynski)

Ingredients

· Two wild turkey breast halves

· Two wild turkey legs

· Chicken broth (between 30–32 ounces total)

· White wine to fully cover breasts and legs

· ½ teaspoon chili powder

· ½ teaspoon cumin

· 1 teaspoon coriander

· ¼ teaspoon paprika

· 1 or 1 ½ large yellow onions

· Shredded cheese (light Mexican mix and grated cheddar or any of your choice)

· Four to six cans red enchilada sauce (La Victoria brand is preferred)

· Tortillas (flour, corn, or flaxseed — your choice but I use corn and flour)

· Kosher or sea salt

· Ground black pepper

Directions

Place turkey breast halves and legs in crock pot and cover with two cans of chicken broth. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Add white wine to completely cover breasts and legs. Cook on high for 4 hours.

When turkey breasts and legs are done, shred breast and leg meat into pieces.

Wild turkey breasts and legs after being cooked in a crock pot
Wild turkey breasts and legs after being cooked in a crock pot
Wild turkey breast halves and legs after their time in a crock pot. (Bob Krajczynski)

Dice and caramelize 1 to 1 ½ large yellow onions.

Mix shredded turkey, onion, Mexican and cheddar cheeses together, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat corn tortillas in frying pan to ease their rolling; flour tortillas roll fine unheated.

Put some red enchilada sauce in a square dish. Dip tortillas in the red enchilada sauce then fill with the turkey/cheese/onion mixture and roll pretty tight.

Place in baking dish (I put a bit of cooking spray in mine) and when dish is full, pour additional enchilada sauce and cheeses over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35–40 minutes.

Note: One wild turkey is usually enough for three to four 8-inch-by-8-inch aluminum baking dishes. We usually make up one batch in a larger baking dish and then freeze the others overnight and vacuum-seal them the next morning. I use the 8-inch-by-8-inch aluminum baking dishes because they are the largest I can fit in my vacuum-seal bags.

— Bob Krajczynski

Wild turkey enchiladas being prepared in a kitchen
Wild turkey enchiladas being prepared in a kitchen
A batch of wild turkey enchiladas being assembled. (Bob Krajczynski)

Marco Bosnich sent in this glaze mix as an alternative to paprika or honey glazes for turkey.

Ingredients

· ½ cup maple syrup

· 3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

Directions

Infuse the turkey with the glaze using a flavor injector.

Start the glaze when the turkey is about half done cooking and apply the glaze every 30 minutes until the bird is done.

— Marco Bosnich

A carnitas-style turkey taco is seen ready to eat
A carnitas-style turkey taco is seen ready to eat
Carl Wilson likes to create carnitas-style tacos or burritos with turkey leg meat. (Carl Wilson)

Ingredients

· Turkey legs

· Salted broth

· Oil

· Salt

· Your favorite taco or burrito fixings

Shredded turkey leg meat with salt and oil added for broiling
Shredded turkey leg meat with salt and oil added for broiling
Add oil and salt to the leg meat and broil to crisp it up. (Carl Wilson)

Directions

What to do with the incredibly boney turkey legs? Pressure cook them in a bit of salted broth.

Then separate the meat from the bones and shred it.

Add oil and salt to the meat and broil it to crisp it up.

Build your tacos or burritos with carnitas-style turkey. Enjoy!

— Carl Wilson

Ingredients

· 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

· One yellow onion

· 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

· 1 tablespoon minced garlic

· 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

· 1 tablespoon dried oregano

· Three cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained

· 4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

· About 3 cups or 1 pound ground wild turkey

· One plum tomato, seeded and diced

· 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

· 2 tablespoons lime juice

· ½ teaspoon salt

· ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

· Eight lime wedges (optional)

A batch of turkey chili is ready to eat.
A batch of turkey chili is ready to eat.
Serve this turkey chili with your favorite toppings. (Jess McLellan)

Directions

Heat skillet with olive oil and cook ground turkey and onion together. After it’s cooked all the way through, add all ingredients to a crock pot. Set the crock pot to low and let simmer for 6–8 hours.

Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy.

Note: If you decide not to grind your turkey, soak your turkey in buttermilk for about two days, cube it, and then slowly cook it in a heated skillet. When it’s cooked through or about halfway cooked, add the onion until nicely sautéed together and then add to crock pot.

— Jess McLellan

Ingredients

· Turkey breasts

· Salt and pepper to taste

· Garlic and onion powder to taste

· Eggs

· Panko breadcrumbs

· Olive oil for frying

Directions

Remove turkey breasts from the bird and cut ½-inch steaks across the grain of the meat.

Use a cuber or a meat tenderizing hammer on the steaks, then season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Then dip the meat in egg, coat with Panko, and fry in olive oil until golden brown.

— Kevin Durland

Written by

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store