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Wild Turkey Thigh Coconut Curry
Photo by Larry White

Coconut curry is the perfect hearty dish for when temperatures and the turkey hunting start heating up. A little bit sweet, a little spicy and just a hint of tropical notes from the coconut. This recipe utilizes the thighs, which in my opinion are highly underutilized (and rumor has it, often discarded).

Cooking wild turkey thighs isn't an exact science. They need to be slow cooked in some form of liquid in order to make them tender. And for the cooking times? They can vary bird to bird and you can count on a range of 1 1/2 to 3 hours. So with just a little patience, you'll be left with fork tender meat that's easily shredded.

I like to serve this with jasmine rice and one of my all time favorite Southern pairings for game birds, peanut cornbread dressing. While this peanut pairing may seem odd to some, its history dates back many years and the roots can be traced back to western Africa. The dressing pairs well with any game or farmed birds utilizing any cooking method that you choose.

Recipe Link for the Peanut Cornbread Dressing

Serves: 2 ppl

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 1/2 to 3 hours


  • 2 wild turkey thighs, bone-in

  • 2 tablespoons coconut or peanut oil

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

  • 3 cups canned diced tomatoes (with juices)

  • chicken stock (as needed)

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • lime juice to taste

  • 2 thinly sliced scallions (green parts only)

  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro


  1. Heat a medium sized pot over medium-high heat and add the cooking oil. Season the turkey thighs with salt and pepper. When the oil starts to gently smoke, add the turkey and sear until golden brown on both sides. Remove the turkey from the pot and set aside. Add the onions, garlic and ginger to the pot. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the coconut milk, curry paste, tomatoes and honey. Stir until the curry paste is fully incorporated. Add the turkey thighs to the pot. If needed, add a little chicken stock until the thighs are covered approximately 3/4. Bring to a slow simmer, cover and cook until fork tender. This will take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours depending on how tough your bird is.

  3. Remove the turkey thighs from the pot. Bring the curry broth back to a simmer and cook uncovered until it has slightly thickened. This will take 15 to 25 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, cilantro and scallions. Add a few squeezes of fresh lime juice to your liking.

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