Besides the celebration of Easter and the beginning of gardening season, one of my favorite things about spring in rural West Kentucky is hunting, preparing, and eating wild turkeys. However, the start of turkey season also brings with it a little bit of added stress as well. Wild turkey is Jessica’s favorite wild meat and, in Kentucky, we are only allowed two tags. Thus, from opening day forward, the pressure is on for me to fill my two tags and make Momma happy. So far, I’ve filled one tag and have one more remaining, which means that I’m not yet out of the woods in more ways than one!
Now, our favorite way to eat wild turkey has always been battered and deep fried. We still do eat it this way from time to time. However, limiting the amount of deep fried foods that I consume is among the lifestyle changes that I made when I decided to live a healthier life (see here). For this reason, I’ve been exploring newer, healthier ways to prepare my wild turkey. Among the more healthier ways that I’ve cooked wild turkey breast, my favorite so far is to fix it with lemon juice, chicken broth, and spinach and to serve it over spaghetti squash as a low calorie pasta dish. I got the idea for this dish from a recipe for Lemon Chicken and Spaghetti Squash that was floating around Facebook and that originated from Buzzfeed.com. Now, of the recipes I’ve tried off Facebook, a few have been bad and one was inedible. However, the way my Wild Turkey Breast and Spinach Pasta turned out exceeded both mine and Jessica’s expectations. If you are tired of eating your wild turkey battered and fried or want a healthier option, give this a try and see what you think!
Step 1: Cutting and Marinating
The first thing that I do for this dish is cut, marinade, and refrigerate my wild turkey breast. I cut my breast into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces and marinade it in zesty Italian dressing with a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. After this, I usually let it set in the refrigerator for a few hours before I cook it. I normally cut, vacuum seal, and freeze my turkey breast pieces so that there is a little over 1 pound per bag. This particular breast section was 1 pound 5 ounces. A breast portion anywhere from around 1 to 1 1/2 pounds should work well for this recipe.
Step 2: Preparing and Cooking the Spaghetti Squash
I love pasta and rice dishes! However, along with cutting back on deep fried foods, I’ve also cut back on the number of starches that I consume. For this reason, I was delighted to discover spaghetti squash last year. Spaghetti squash shreds into thin, noodle-like pieces, and what results looks almost identical to angel hair pasta. Spaghetti squash is a little crunchier than regular spaghetti noodles; however, with a little bit of seasoning, it tastes great and works well as a pasta substitute. It’s also easy to make. All you have to do is cut it down the center; scoop out its seeds; coat it with a little olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper; and bake it at 400 degrees for around ten minutes for every pound the fruit weighs. The particular squashes that I used for this dish were around 4 to 5 pounds, so I baked them for around 45 minutes. After they had finished cooking, I simply scraped the squash’s flesh with a fork, and it easily shred into what looked like pasta.
Step 3: Cooking the Wild Turkey Breast
When my spaghetti squash was midway through the baking process, I began cooking my wild turkey breast and my lemon and spinach sauce. First, I cooked my wild turkey breast with a little olive oil and a little of the marinade at medium heat for around six minutes. Of course, how long it takes yours to cook will be determined by how big you cut your turkey breast chunks. After the turkey is cooked through, I removed it from the pan and start on the sauce.
Step 4: Preparing the Lemon and Spinach Sauce
For the sauce, I sautéed a diced, medium-sized sweet onion for five minutes, 4 minced garlic cloves for an additional minute, and 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes for 3 more minutes. Following this, I added 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Then I allowed the sauce to reduce over medium to medium-low heat for 15 minutes. After this, I added the turkey breast pieces and stirred in the spinach for an additional minute or two. Once the spinach is mixed well into the sauce, it’s ready to serve. All that remains is to put the spaghetti on the plate, cover it with the delicious wild turkey breast and spinach sauce, and top it with some grated parmesan. Once you’ve done this, you will have a wild turkey dish much healthier but just as, or at last almost as, tasty as the more traditional battered and deep fried wild turkey strips.
If you’re in the Paducah area and want to talk more about King Jesus and what it means to live in his new world, I would love to sit down with you over a cup of coffee (my treat!). Contact me, and let’s meet! I also invite you to come and worship the King with me at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. We meet for worship weekly at 10:30 on Sunday mornings.