This recipe is the perfect way to cook an older bird, a really big tom, or the not-so-tender parts of any bird. You can put the recipe together pretty quickly, but it does require simmering for at least an hour but it’s worth the wait.
This recipe was developed at a bowhunting camp in Oregon, and it lends itself well to grouse, chukar, and other upland game birds – but it’s just perfect for wild turkey.
By far the best way to fix this is in a large cast iron Dutch oven, but you can also use a heavy stockpot – a stainless pot with a copper bottom works fine. If you don’t have either one, you can do this in a big crock pot, but you will have to brown the turkey first in a skillet. You can simmer the turkey in the oven, but it’s best done on the stove top, because you will need to check on it a couple times while it’s simmering.
Cut the onions into big chunks, cut the celery into 1 inch pieces, and chop the carrot to 1/2 inch pieces. Heat the oil and butter in the pot over medium-high heat until it’s not quite smoking, and then add the turkey pieces to brown them. (The wings are easier to manage if you fold them up.)
Turn the turkey pieces over after a few minutes and add the garlic, onions, celery, and carrot. Keep turning the turkey pieces till they’re browned all over. Pour off excess oil if there is any leftover and then add the sage. Sprinkle the turkey lightly with salt, and dust it generously with black pepper. Add a dash or two of nutmeg. Add the wine, apple juice, and vinegar.
The liquid level should almost, but not quite, cover the turkey – add more wine or some water if you don’t have enough liquid. Bring the mixture to a very slow simmer, cover the pot with a lid, and turn the heat down as low as it will go. Check on this every half hour or so to make sure you have at least 2 inches of liquid in the pot; add wine or water if necessary.
After an hour, cut up the pears and add them to the top of the pot. You can peel them or not – your choice. Keep an eye on the liquid level and simmer on very low heat for another hour. Add the apricot jam and stir it very gently so it’s just mixed in with the liquid.
Simmer another half hour and fork off a bite of the turkey to see whether it’s tender – should be just about falling off the bone by now. If not, simmer covered a bit longer. If it is ready, take off the lid and turn the heat to medium and let the mixture bubble till it’s cooked down into a glaze.
Serve this over rice or mashed spuds with the fruity sweet-and-sour glaze poured generously over top and enjoy!