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Wild Turkey Salad

Wild turkey salad seasoned with cranberries and tarragon. Photo by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley, Nebraskaland.

Over crackers, in a sandwich or scooped over a bed of fresh greens, this is my go-to turkey salad recipe for leftover Thanksgiving dinner or made from scratch with a wild bird. Tarragon — a classic French herb — has an anise, or licorice-like, aroma and used sparingly, can transform any poultry dish. Tart cranberries, lemon zest and juice add balance and brightness to this creamy salad.

Skip the brine if you wish, but wild turkey dries out easily. This simple brine will add flavor and ensure that your wild turkey breast will stay moist in the oven.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 4 hours and 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients:
• 1 wild turkey breast
• 4 cups of water
• ¼ cup kosher salt
• ¼ cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Freshly cracked pepper
• Mrs. Dash Seasoning Blend
• 1 rib of celery, finely diced
• ½ cup mayonnaise or to taste
• ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• ½ cup dried cranberries
• Zest of one lemon
• 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Directions:

1. To make the brine, combine water, kosher salt and brown sugar, and stir until dissolved. Submerge turkey breast into the brine; use a plate to weigh it down. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours; the longer you allow the meat to sit in the brine, the saltier it will taste.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove turkey breast from the brine and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub with olive oil and season with cracked black pepper; I also used a bit of Mrs. Dash.
Place breast on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Once cooked through, allow breast to cool.

3. Dice or shred turkey breast. Place meat into a medium bowl and mix with mayonnaise, tarragon, Dijon mustard, cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice and cracked black pepper to taste. Adjust the amount of mayonnaise to your liking. Chill before serving.  ■

About Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

NEBRASKAland Associate Editor Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and moved to the United States with her parents in 1992. She graduated from Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, California, in 2008 and completed her bachelor’s degree at UCLA in 2012. Wheatley was editor-in-chief for her high school newspaper and continued to write in college, freelancing for various publications, the Tiger Woods Foundation and writing for her blog FoodForHunters.com. After graduating college, she moved to Nebraska in early 2013 to join the Commission as Regional Editor at NEBRASKAland Magazine. She then became associate editor in 2015. Wheatley enjoys hiking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and wild game cooking.