Wild Turkey Cutlets Marsala - Gobbler Good
Updated: Feb 20
Just about any “white” meat from chicken breasts to pork can be transformed into a nice cutlet dish. Wild turkey breasts make some of the best candidates as they are usually full of flavor and cook up with a white firm texture.
Dining guests agree this dish is a winner. The breasts typically come from an 18-22-pound spring gobbler. One turkey breast will make enough cutlets for 4 ample servings.
1 turkey breast, skinned and boned
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped sweet pepper (yellow or orange preferred)
½ cup chopped onions
½ teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (such as baby portabellas)
½ teaspoon ground sage
½ teaspoon of black pepper
½ cup of Marsala wine
1 ½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
Thinly slice the turkey breast to about ½-inch thickness cutlets. Slice against the grain of the meat for best results and tenderness. Using a meat mallet, pound the cutlets to ¼-inch thickness. Lightly dust with flour. The meat does not have to be “battered” by coating the meat with some sort of egg wash or similar and then flouring.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the meat and cook a few minutes on each side until light golden brown. Let it cook slowly. Overcooking or cooking too quickly toughens the meat. Remove the cutlets from the pan and keep warm.
In the same pan, cook the onions and peppers until soft. Add the garlic, mushrooms, sage and pepper and cook another 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium high, add the Marsala wine and broth, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is almost reduced in half. This usually takes up to 8 minutes. Swirl in the butter and add salt to taste.
Add the meat back to the pan, nestling it among the vegetables and sauce. Cook another 2 or 3 minutes over low heat and serve immediately with wild rice, pasta or polenta. Serve with a favorite vegetable side dish such as green beans and sliced Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and sliced zucchini, or steamed or grilled asparagus.
A lightly-oaked, well-rounded chardonnay pares well, although light reds, such as some pinot noirs, also can be a good match.
Many cooks have used use Marsala (named for the Sicilian city of Marsala) but may not know much about this fortified wine (usually 15-20 percent alcohol by volume) from southern Italy.
Marsalas can vary in sweetness. Secco, or dry, has a maximum residual sugar of 40 grams per liter. Semi secco has 41 to 100 grams per liter and dolce, or sweet, has over 100 grams per liter.
The wine is also classified by color. Ambra, amber colored, and Oro, with gold hues, are both made from white grapes, while Rubino, ruby colored, is made from red grapes.
Age is another designator. Marsala Fine is aged at least a year. It’s typically a cooking wine. The scale then progresses from Superiore, Superiore Riserva (frequently considered the first tier suitable for sipping with at least 4 years in oak), Vergine, Vergine Soleras, to Marsala Stravecchio, which is aged a minimum of 10 years in oak.
Marsala was originally drunk as an aperitif between a meal’s first and second course, but now more often is served with desert.