By Jen O'Hara
Taking a new hunter out for the first time is one of the most powerful things that a seasoned hunter can do to help protect our heritage of hunting. Personally, I like to take youth hunters. It is the most rewarding experience to teach a child how to shoot, hunt and harvest their own meat. Each year, I take one youth hunter under my wing and I teach them it all. I mostly hunt with girls whose families may or may not be hunters, but who understand and appreciate how important hunting is to us, the hunters. I usually pick girls who don’t have access to the opportunities that I can provide them. Taking the time to spend with a kid in the outdoors is so rewarding and something I look forward to every year.
I like to start with firearm safety first. It’s the number one most important step in teaching a child about hunting. This is usually their foundation for the rest of their lives on how they will handle and respect a firearm. After I am comfortable with their firearm skills, I usually like to start with turkey hunting. Why turkey hunting? Turkeys are a much larger target to aim for the first time you hunt and the success rate for the kids I have taken out over the past 5 seasons is 100%!
This past season I chose to take Sierra Hoover under my wing. Sierra is a great kid and at 15 years old, she decided that she wanted to hunt! She participates in dance, she’s a youth leader in our church, she plays soccer, and she’s a straight A student. How cool was it that she wanted to add hunting to her long list of hobbies? I was excited! I remember how nervous she was the first time she came over to my house to learn how to handle a shotgun. I saw many qualities I see in myself in her as she worked hard to perfect her shooting and firearms skills. When she was ready, we went out for our first hunt. I’m pretty sure that I ruined her on turkey hunting that day! Several hours in, the biggest Tom I had ever had in front of me came in to my call. He had 3 beards and an inch and a quarter spurs! She made a perfect shot and he went down! We may have screamed like girls! Yes, we definitely did! (Watch our hunt recap video here)
I always like to say that the work starts after you harvest your animal. It’s so important to teach kids how to clean their kill. Sierra and I worked together on breasting out the turkey and I made promises of my amazing turkey enchiladas.
I learned a couple secrets from friends who enjoy wild game as I do along the way and made this recipe my own by trial and error over the years.
These are hands down the best enchiladas I’ve ever had! I’m not a great cook, but I love preparing different wild game and making it for hunters and non-hunters alike.
½ of the entire turkey (roughly 1.5 lbs)
1 cup chicken stock
1 packet of Lawry’s taco seasoning mix
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion
1 can of Ortega mild green chiles 4 oz
½ tsp of poultry seasoning
1 can Campbell’s cream of mushroom 10.5 oz
1 can Las Palmas medium green chile enchilada sauce 10 oz
1 can Las Palmas mild red enchilada sauce 28 oz
2 cups Tillamook cheddar and jack cheese
1 cup frozen corn
1 can of black olives
The key to Jen’s Wild Turkey Enchiladas is the crock pot! Put the turkey breast in the crock pot with the chicken stock and taco seasoning for 8 hours on low and when you get home from work, they will fall apart. You can make your own seasoning, but I’m not that talented, so I just use Lawry’s Taco Seasoning. Shred the turkey and put in a bowl.
Chop the yellow onion and saute using the olive oil then add to the meat. Open the can of Ortega green chiles and add to the meat along with ½ tsp of poultry seasoning. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Mix the can of cream of mushroom, green chile enchilada sauce and red enchilada sauce in a saucepan on low heat. As it warms it will mix together. Stir occasionally. Once warm, remove from the heat. This will make a large amount of sauce, typically I freeze the leftovers for the next time I make enchiladas. Add ½ cup (roughly, but depends on the size of the breast) of the sauce to the meat, onion and chile bowl and mix well.
Take the tortillas and do a quick fry on them for approximately 30 seconds each side. This softens them and makes them more pliable. You can also microwave them for the same effect, but you won’t have the flavor from frying them in oil. Dip each tortilla in the mixed sauce. Fill each tortilla with the meat, onion and chile mixture and top off with a light sprinkling of cheese. Wrap the tortilla and place seam side down. Repeat until the pan is full. Pour the sauce mixture over the tortillas until they are “just” covered. Don’t drown your tortillas. Top off with the remaining cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven until cheese melts. Garnish with chives and sour cream before serving. Serve with Spanish rice and beans. Jen’s Wild Turkey Enchiladas tastes better than any chicken or beef enchiladas you’ve ever had and it’s leaner - you’re welcome!
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