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Note: This recipe is not exclusive to turkey and can be applied to any other large game bird.

A turkey galantine is a glorified pate “cased” inside of a turkey’s skin. It’s a complex and subtle French preparation that requires about a million steps, but if you take the time to do each step properly you won’t be disappointed. A real crowd pleaser, especially for those dinner guests with high expectations and a sophisticated palate.

For the galantine:

  • •One whole turkey, plucked and gutted
  • •½ pound venison (or moose, elk, caribou, etc.)
  • •½ pound pork back fat
  • •1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • •1 clove minced garlic
  • •1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • •1/3 cup minced shallots
  • •1/3 cup white wine
  • •1 Tablespoon brandy
  • •2 teaspoons corn starch
  • •2 tablespoons salt

Spice mixture for galantine:

  • •1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • •6 juniper berries
  • •6 whole cloves
  • •½ teaspoon thyme leaves
  • •1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • •1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Poaching Stock:

  • •Turkey bones
  • •1 gallon water
  • •2 carrots
  • •2 stalks celery
  • •2 bay leaves
  • •½ cup white wine
  • •½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • •½ teaspoon salt


Step 1) Skin the bird: Remove the skin from a whole, plucked wild turkey by making just one incision up the back. Be particularly careful around the legs; you will pull the skin off the drumsticks like removing a pair of pants. (The wings can be removed just above the breast bone before skinning.) Wrap the skin in plastic wrap and place it inside a refrigerator.

Step 2) Make the filling: Bone the entire bird, including all meat from the legs and breasts. Reserve the bones of the turkey along with ½ of one breast as a whole piece, and cube the rest of the meat.

Grind this cubed meat through a fine die along with approximately a half-pound of cubed venison and a half-pound of pork back fat. Regrind the meat, again through a fine die.

Now place the ground meat in a refrigerator while you combine the spice mixture ingredients into a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle and pulverize the spices into a powder.

Using your hands and/or a large spoon, mix this powder thoroughly into the ground meat mixture along with the brandy, wine, salt, corn starch, pistachios, shallots, mushrooms, and garlic.

Step 3) Filling the skin: Measure out a piece of cheese cloth that’s well over twice as big as the turkey skin and lay it out flat on a counter. Spread the turkey skin out on top of the cheese cloth and form it into a rectangular shape.

Fill this with half of the ground meat mixture. Cube the remaining half of the turkey breast and lay this in a line down the center of the mixture.

Place the remainder of the ground mixture over the cubed breast meat and pack it into a tight loaf. Now wrap the turkey skin tightly around the loaf, forming a log-shaped package. Bring the cheese cloth over the turkey skin and wrap tightly. Bind the entire thing with wraps of kitchen twine placed about 2” apart.


Step 4) Making the stock: Break the boned-out turkey carcass into a few pieces and lay them in a roasting pan. Add the roughly chopped vegetables and herbs and drizzle four tablespoons of olive oil over the bones and veggies. Roast for 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then place the bones and veggies into a large stockpot and cover with the water and wine. (You want at least 1 gallon.) Add the bay leaves, thyme, and salt. Simmer over low heat for two hours, then strain away the solids and reserve the finished stock.

Step 5) Poaching the galantine: Place the galantine in an appropriate sized cooking vessel – one that fits tightly but with at least an inch of space on each side. Pour the stock over the galantine so that the galantine is completely submerged.

If needed, weigh the galantine with a plate or similar object to keep it submerged. Place the cooking vessel over a burner and bring the stock to a poaching temperature of 180 to 190 degrees. Poach for approximately two hours, until the galantine reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Remove the galantine from the poaching stock and allow it to cool.

Then place one quart of the stock in a large sauce pan and reduce the liquid over low heat until it reaches the consistency of warm maple syrup. To serve, pour a tablespoon of the reduced stock on a small plate and top it with a ¼” slice of the chilled or room temperature galantine.