Cooking with Wild Game
Now that you have participated in the various hunting seasons Connecticut has to offer, it is time to find some recipes for turkey, goose, squirrel, and more to create delicious wild game meals. This offering is a work in progress, so please check back as we add more recipes. We also welcome recipes from local hunters -- send recipes and photos of your creations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's start cooking and enjoy!
Because all of the ingredients are added to the slow cooker at once, this is a great way to make use of not-so-tender turkey leg/thigh quarters on a busy weekday. Add the ingredients to the pot in the morning and the turkey legs are falling apart tender when you get home. Just pick out the bones and shred the meat into the juice, and you are ready for dinner.
2 wild turkey leg/thigh quarters
½ cup Sprite
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 onion thinly sliced
1 heaping tablespoon of Traeger Big Game or your favorite BBQ dry rub
The instructions are simple. Add everything to the slow cooker and turn it on low. The added moisture from the Sprite, vinegar, and BBQ sauce allows the turkey to slow simmer. Cook for 6 to 8 hours, or until the meat falls from the bones. Remove any bones, tendons, and connective tissue. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir everything together, shredding the meat with a fork as you blend.
Wild Goose Barbacoa + Spicy Peach Pico de Gallo
Submitted by Wildlife Division Biologist Paul Benjunas
2 pounds of goose breast
¼ large red onion, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (ACV)
½ lime, juiced
1 cup of sliced peaches (2 fresh peaches, or use frozen)
1 can of chile in adobo* (see note)
1 cup of chicken stock
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Oil for browning (avocado or duck fat, etc.)
Fresh chopped cilantro
Diced red onion
- Season the meat with kosher salt and pepper before cooking.
- If using an electric pressure cooker, pre-heat using the sauté function. If using a manual pressure cooker, heat the pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
- Drizzle in a couple tablespoons of oil, or enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pot. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on each side, being careful not to over-crowd the pan. Remove and set aside. If needed, add more oil to the pan and sauté the red onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
- Deglaze the pot with the liquids: ACV, lime juice, and chicken stock. Add the peaches, spices, and can of chile in adobo sauce. Return the browned meat to the pot and stir all the ingredients to mix.
- If using a manual cooker, lock the lid and reduce the heat as needed to maintain high pressure without release of steam.
- If using an electric pressure cooker, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to High Sealing Position. Pressure cook at High Pressure for 60 minutes + Full Natural Release (25 minutes).
- Check the meat after about an hour and a half. Release the pressure from the pot and open the lid carefully. Check to see if the meat is fork tender. If it is not, cook longer.
- When the meat begins to fall apart, pull the pieces out of the sauce using tongs and set aside on a plate. Use forks and shred the meat apart.
- Strain the solids from the liquids leftover inside the pressure cooker. Pour the strained sauce into a small saucepot and place it on the stovetop over high heat. Reduce the sauce for 10 minutes or until it reaches desired taste and texture. Pour the reduced adobo sauce over the shredded goose.
- Serve the meat inside tacos with cilantro, onion, and peaches, or desired toppings.
You can use breast or thigh meat from geese. 2 pounds is roughly 2 breast from a Canada goose.
*The chile in adobo sauce is a little spicy. For a mild version, remove the chipotle chiles from the can and just add the adobo sauce.
With Green Beans, Cranberries, and Pecans
8 turkey cutlets, about ¼ inch thick
Salt and pepper
3 cups of fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 cup of chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- Season both sides of turkey cutlets with salt and pepper.
- Combine green beans, melted butter, garlic, sage, cranberries, and pecans to create the filling.
- Add an equal amount of the filling to the center of each turkey cutlet. Roll up cutlets, and secure with toothpicks.
- For best results, place a small metal rack or trivet at the bottom of your pressure cooker.
- Pour in chicken stock, placed stuffed cutlets on rack, and sprinkle with paprika and poultry seasoning. Securely lock the pressure cooker’s lid and set for 10 minutes on HIGH.
- Perform a quick release to release the cooker’s pressure. Let rest for five minutes before serving.
Birds and Barley
Submitted by Wildlife Division Biologist Min Huang
Turkey breasts cubed*
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup pearl barley
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. marjarom
In Dutch oven, brown turkey chunks in butter, remove. Cook onions and mushrooms. Add turkey back. Add stock and herbs. Bring to boil, add celery, carrots, and barley. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
*Can substitute goose and use beef broth instead.
Rail (or Woodcock) Appetizers
Submitted by Bureau of Natural Resources Chief Rick Jacobson
Rail breasts (skinless/boneless) and legs/thighs (skinless) [or woodcock breasts and legs/thighs]
Goat cheese (or blue cheese)
- Heat the garlic and thyme in a pan of olive oil.
- Salt and pepper all sides of breasts and legs/thighs.
- Lightly pan fry the breasts and legs/thighs (medium rare).
- Serve breasts on wheat crackers with a dollop of goat cheese (or blue cheese)
- Enjoy the legs/thighs like apps on a stick
Submitted by Conservation/Education Firearms Safety Instructor Tommy Renzuella
2 small rabbits or 1 large rabbit quartered and sectioned
1 can Italian whole tomatoes (remove stems)
1/3 to ½ cup of dry white wine
½ red pepper
½ green pepper
1 large onion course chopped
Fresh parsley chopped fine
1 cup fresh mushrooms sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste *optional
1/3 to ½ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves sliced
Season (salt and pepper) rabbit and brown in olive oil with one clove garlic until golden brown. Add onions and wine and allow to reduce. Add all additional ingredients and simmer covered until rabbit is tender.
Dish can be served with or without rice or pasta.
Submitted by the Wildlife Division's Conservation/Education Firearms Safety Program
4 squirrels cleaned and quartered
2 cloves garlic minced
1 large onion chopped
5 carrots sliced
½ bunch celery chopped
1 lb. frozen peas
2 quarts game stock (substitute chicken or vegetable)
1 pint heavy cream
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot combine, 1 quart of stock, squirrel, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste (add water if meat is not entirely covered in stock), bring to a boil until meat is tender. Remove squirrel from heat and remove meat (strain and keep stock). In a large stock pot, add both second quart of stock and strained stock from boiled squirrel, as well as carrots, garlic, onions, and celery. Boil vegetables until tender. Remove squirrel from bones and add to stock once vegetables are tender. Add heavy cream and peas to stock vegetable mixture and begin slowly adding flour while stirring to thicken filling. Once filling is desired consistency, add to pie crust and bake until golden brown.
Content last updated in March 2021.