Turkey seasons are kicking off in many states this month. It’s funny that some people see turkey as the last hunt of the season while others consider it the first hunt of the year. Whichever camp you fall into, this simple turkey schnitzel is a good way to eat some of that “thunder chicken” breast.
I first had schnitzel at a kosher restaurant in St. Louis. It’s often made with chicken or pork (though, not at a kosher deli). The tenderizing process can be applied to many wild meats — a chef in Waterton Lakes National Park once did wonders for my meal with the worst cut of bison.
Eat your turkey schnitzel with a brown sauce, or with honey mustard. I think it’d be great on a sandwich with ripe tomato, maybe bread and butter pickles. My family ate the following dish drizzled with honey that came from the farm where I hunted the bird. Is it poetic that the turkey may have been eating seeds from plants pollinated by the bees who made the honey dressing the meat?
What You Need
- Turkey breast (or try it with wild boar). Separate the tenders from the outer breast
- Salt and pepper, or your favorite seasoning
- Breadcrumbs. I used sourdough toast that was leftover from a couple of days before and crushed it. You can also crush saltine crackers — kids are good at this. If you’re really in a hurry, you can buy breadcrumbs
- 1/3 flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Rolling pin or mallet
- Saran Wrap/cling wrap
- Skillet or saucepan
What You Do
You’re going to start by smashing the meat into a thin patty. Place a sheet of Saran Wrap on a cutting board put the meat on that, then season it with salt and pepper and place another sheet on top. Don’t wrap the meat; the wrap is just to keep it from sticking to your rolling pin and from splattering all over the kitchen.
The idea is to use the rolling pin or mallet to mash the meat thin and broad. Don’t hit it, just press hard down and out. You’re breaking up everything that makes meat tough. 3/8- or a 1/4-inch-thick should be about right.
Start your skillet heating on medium heat. I like to use cast iron because it holds heat well as you add cold meat. A deeper saucepan is nice, too, because it stops the oil from splattering as much. Don’t add the oil, yet.
Carefully remove the wrap. Any pieces that separated from the main body of meat can be pressed back on. Schnitzel is often served in one large piece, but it can be cut into sandwich-sized pieces or nuggets or fingers at this point. Use the flour to dust the meat — the flour helps the egg wash stick to the meat.
Season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Dip the meat in the egg and then coat with bread crumbs. A good way is to put the crumbs in a Ziploc bag and drop the meat in and gently shake around. fry immediately so the crumbs don’t get soggy.
Add oil to the pan and give it a minute to heat. Just about a 1/4″ in the bottom should do it. Add the meat and fry on each side until golden brown. Remove and set on paper towels.
Serve your schnitzel hot. Many people claim that wild turkey is too tough and gamey to be enjoyed, but this turkey schnitzel will prove them wrong.