Wild Turkey Salad

November 1, 2021 Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

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
• 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


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.  ■

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