The beginning of September has finally arrived, and that means it’s dove season! After your successful harvest, it’s time to take these dainty (but delectable) game birds and turn them into a meal that will become part of your family tradition for years to come. This lean, flavorful meat lends itself beautifully to a variety of dishes, but we’ve selected three that really highlight the flavor and feeling of this unique time game bird and time of year.
1. DJ’s Dove Pate
- 1/2 pound boneless dove breasts
- 1 bunch green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon each: salt, dry mustard, ground black pepper
- Fillet dove breasts from the bone by running a sharp knife carefully between meat and breastbone, from front to back end.
- Place green onions in food processor and chop finely.
- Melt butter in skillet over medium high heat.
- Briefly saute onions, add dove breasts, and gently cook until meat is no longer red in the center. Allow to cool slightly.
- Place contents of skillet in processor with remaining ingredients. Process continuously until smooth. Spoon pate into greased one-cup mold and chill until serving.
2. Dove a la Detrick
- 2 to 3 whole dove breasts per person
- Scottish, Irish or English ale
- 1 or more jars pickled grape leaves
- Italian sausage, as hot as you like it
- Partially cook sausage.
- Fill cavity of each dove breast with rendered sausage.
- Wrap one slice of bacon around each dove breast, then pepper lightly (no salt).
- Wrap entire breast in grape leaf and/or leaves. Skewer with toothpick if needed.
- Place in an appropriately sized casserole dish, lay additional layer of grape leaves on top, then cover with ale.
- Marinate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature.
- Place casserole on middle rack of oven and bake approximately 10 minutes or until top layer of leaves brown and liquid bubbles for at least five minutes. Do not overcook!
- Discard top layer of leaves and serve.
3. Dove Pie
- 6 dove breasts
- 1/4 pound salted crackers
- black pepper to taste
- 1/2 – 3/4 stick of butter, chopped into bits
- 1 8-ounce can evaporated milk
- 2 1/2 Butter-Me-Not biscuits
- Soak doves in lightly salted water.
- Boil until tender. Reserve about one half cup of the resulting stock.
- Cut dove breasts into small pieces.
- Using a round 9X3-inch pan or casserole dish, put dove pieces in pan along with crushed saltine crackers, butter and black pepper.
- Toss, pour in evaporated milk and stock.
- Let stand for a few minutes to soak up crackers, but remember you need enough liquid to make the pie moist.
- Roll out two and a half Butter-Me-Not biscuits and put on top as a pie crust.
- Bake at 400 degrees until crust is golden brown.