If you’re a Wellington fan, you’re probably used to enjoying the dish in its traditional form: Beef or venison tenderloin wrapped in a delicious pastry shell. In his soon-to-drop Turkey Book, Texas-based hunter, chef, and restauranteur Jesse Griffiths has taken that age-old culinary concept and turned it on its head. Wild turkey “Wellington” incorporates turkey tenderloins, wild mushrooms, and slow-cooked dark meat from the turkey’s hind quarter. The flavor combinations sound amazing, but let’s be honest. We’re really here for the head-turning garnish—a whole turkey foot complete with spur and claws. Enjoy!

To learn more about Jesse and the cross-country hunting trip that inspired his book, read our Q&A here.

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Turkey “Wellington”

This is an audacious dish, playing off the concept of a classic Wellington—meat wrapped in puff pastry, blanketed by layers of mushroom and ham—while being playful with the composition. Here, the tenderloins are surrounded by a “duxelles” of finely chopped mushrooms (wild or cultivated are fine), cream, brandy, ramps (if you’ve got ‘em) and the shredded meat from a turkey’s leg quarter, along with the turkey’s liver for added richness. Use American-style country ham or prosciutto for the outermost layer and to enclose the saucy filling. For greater effect, a quickly-boiled turkey claw can be included for some added visual excitement. — Jesse Griffiths


1 turkey leg quarter, claw on for effect (see headnote)

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

1 rib celery, roughly chopped

A few fresh thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

Mushroom Duxelles

6 cups wild or domestic mushrooms, cleaned well

5 tbsp butter

2 shallots, finely chopped, or a big handful of ramps, sliced thinly

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped

1⁄4 cup brandy, applejack, bourbon or rum

1 tbsp sharp mustard such as Dijon or Chinese hot mustard

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 cup heavy cream

1⁄2 cup reserved broth

1 turkey liver, finely chopped

2 turkey tenderloins

1 tbsp olive oil or lard

All-purpose flour for dusting

14 ounces puff pastry, thawed

1⁄4 lb high-quality country ham or prosciutto, thinly sliced (about 12 slices)

1 egg, beaten

1⁄2 tsp coarse salt

Turkey Hunting photo
Jody Horton.


Separate the claw from the leg quarter, if using, and wash and scrub the claw very well. Set aside. Place the turkey leg quarter, onion, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves in a slow cooker or large pot and cover with water. Cook until the turkey is very tender, about 3 to 5 hours, adding water if necessary. Remove the turkey from the pot and shred it, reserving 1⁄2 cup of the broth for the mushroom mixture.

Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems. Puree the remaining broth, onions, carrot and celery with an immersion blender or in a blender until very smooth, then season this to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make the duxelles: Place the mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Heat the butter in a large pan over high heat until just melted, then add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is starting to stick to the pan. Add the shallots and thyme and continue to cook until they are tender, stirring often, about 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the brandy and cook for 1 minute, then add the mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cream and 1⁄2 cup of the reserved broth.

Turn the heat to medium-high and simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly. Stir in the shredded turkey and the turkey liver and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper. Sear them in the olive oil or lard over high heat until lightly browned but not cooked through. Set aside to cool.

Assemble the “Wellington”: Dust a baking sheet with flour. Lay the puff pastry over the flour with the long side horizontal, facing you. Roll the puff pastry out with a rolling pin to about 16 x 12 inches, keeping the long side horizontal. Layer the ham over this, leaving a 2-inch border around the whole piece of puff pastry. Spread the mushroom mixture over this, evenly, to the edges of the ham.

Next, lay the tenderloins horizontally down the middle and add the optional claw to one side, leaving the spur and claw outside the puff pastry, exposed. Roll one horizontal side of the puff pastry up and over, then the other side, enclosing everything. Pinch the seam closed. Crimp each end together and very gently roll the “Wellington” over so the seam side is on the bottom.

Read Next: Recipe: Jesse Griffith’s Turkey & Dumplings

If desired, cut out some decorative shapes from any remaining puff pastry. Score the puff pastry lightly in a diagonal pattern with a sharp knife or box cutter, then brush it with the beaten egg. Add any decorations, then brush these with egg, too. Sprinkle the pastry with a little coarse salt and then bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden and puffed. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then slice into 1 1⁄2-inch portions with a sharp, serrated knife. Rewarm the broth and serve on the side with mashed potatoes (p 111).