Slow-Cooker Wild Turkey Leg Enchilada Casserole

By: Sam Kohler

With turkey season beginning here in Mississippi tomorrow, I thought it would be great to start sharing some go-to wild turkey recipes that are perfect for enjoying your harvest with friends and family. Growing up in Wisconsin, I was brought up in a hunting culture that is far different than in the Southeast United States when it comes to turkey. For me, growing up pursuing Eastern turkeys was more of a self-taught passion as not many of the mentors and fellow hunters around me shared the same drive to harvest gobblers. For a majority of Wisconsinites, the almost religious pursuit of wild game revolves around whitetail deer as there is no greater harvest than a mature whitetail buck inside of state lines. Having recently moved down to Mississippi, one of the greatest cultural shifts I have noticed when it comes to hunting is how highly regarded turkey hunting is compared to the other wild game pursuits. Where once the changing of the leaves was the sign of the beginning of hunting season, here in Mississippi the growth of new leaves beckons the beginning of chasing the elusive Mississippi Long Beard.

Now, when comes to eating wild turkey I have made the mistake of just harvesting the breasts of the turkey and chucking the rest of the carcass away like many other hunters. This being said, I have recently realized how big a mistake I had made in doing so as wild turkey thighs and legs are some of the most underrated and delicious parts of the turkey that hold a ton of flavor and meat if prepared correctly. In this recipe, I hope to share an approachable recipe to make mouth-watering enchilada casserole that will not only leave you full but also with a completely new perspective towards the meat and flavors of wild turkey legs.

Ingredients

Servings: 12 Pieces

Slow Cooker Turkey Legs

Salsa Verde Enchilada Sauce

  • 12 Tomatillos
  • 2 Jalapeño Peppers; Halved & Deseeded
  • 3 Serrano Peppers; Halved & Deseeded
  • 2 Poblano Peppers; Halved & Deseeded
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Bunch of Green Onion
  • 1/2 Large White Onion
  • 8 oz. Hatch Green Chiles; Diced
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Chicken Bouillon
  • 1 Cup of Turkey Leg Broth

Enchilada Casserole

  • 24 Corn Tortillas
  • 10-12 oz. Quesadilla Cheese, Shredded
  • 10 oz. Cojita Cheese, Crumbled
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro; Finely Chopped

Instructions

Slow Cooker Turkey Legs

  1. Begin by taking your turkey legs and placing them into a slow cooker. Make sure to clean the legs and remove the skin from them before you add them into the slow cooker.
  2. Next, Place all your seasonings in a bowl and add the chicken bone broth to the bowl. Mix the ingredients together thoroughly and then add the seasoned broth to the slow cooker with the turkey legs.
  3. Set the slow cooker temperature to “HIGH” and then cook the legs for 4-4.5 hours at this temperature. Once the 4 hours has passed, I like to leave them in for 1 more hour at “LOW” temperature if you have the time to make sure the broth and moisture is absorbed by the meat.
  4. Once the turkey legs are done cooking, remove them from the slow cooker and place them on a cutting board where you can remove the tendons and bones from the meat. At this point the meat should fall of the bone and be easy to separate with nothing more than your hands or a fork.
  5. Once you have removed all the meat from the tendons and bones, set the meat aside in a separate bowl and don’t forget to keep leftover turkey broth for later!

Salsa Verde Enchilada Sauce

  1. Begin to prepare the salsa by setting your oven temperature to 415 Fahrenheit.
  2. As the oven begins to heat up, take this time to prep and deseed all your vegetables before we begin cooking. I deseed all my peppers and find that the salsa has a nice, light heat level that everyone can eat and enjoy. If you would like a medium-hot salsa I recommend leaving some jalapeño seeds in the peppers before roasting and if you would like a really hot salsa you can leave serrano seeds in as well, but of coarse this is all based on your heat preference and how hot you would like the enchiladas to be.
  3. Take your Tomatillos, Jalapeños, Serranos, Poblanos, Garlic, White Onion, Green Onion, and Hatch Chile Peppers and add them to a large baking dish.
  4. Pour your olive oil and chicken bouillon over the vegetables and then mix them by hand thoroughly so that all vegetables are covered with olive oil and chicken bouillon.
  5. Once the oven has reached 415 Degrees Fahrenheit, roast the vegetables in the oven for 45 minutes.
  6. Once the vegetables are done cooking, add them and all of their drippings from the baking dish to a blender along with a bunch of cilantro leaves.
  7. Blend the vegetable and liquid mixture to a puree/soup consistency so that there are no visible chunks or cilantro leaves visible. The finer the sauce the better the outcome for this recipe.
  8. Once the salsa puree is complete, pour the liquid into a deep pot and mix in your 1 cup of left over turkey stock and heat it on medium-low so that the sauce maintains its heat.

Enchilada Casserole Assemblage

  1. Set the oven to 315 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. To begin assemblage, start by taking a casserole dish or deep-set baking pan and spreading a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Next, dip your tortillas in the enchilada sauce and then lay them on the pan to form a bottom layer. For the dipping of tortillas in the enchilada sauce, I filled a separate plate with the enchilada sauce to make this process easier.
  4. Next, take your turkey leg meat and give it a quick chop with a knife and then spread the meat over the tortilla layer.
  5. Follow the meat with shredded quesadilla cheese as the next layer of the enchilada casserole.
  6. Repeat Steps 2-4 until the desired amount of layers are reached. For my enchilada casserole, I made three layers with a final layer of dipped tortillas with quesadilla cheese on top.
  7. Put the final enchiladas in the oven for 15 minutes.
  8. Once the enchilada casserole is done, remove the dish from the oven and top it with some chopped cilantro and crumbled Cojita cheese and enjoy!

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