No, I am not the huntress. It is my husband who eagerly awaits September 1st here on the Shore. Not because the cooler weather typically has arrived but because he can hunt dove. Texas and Argentina are big hunting grounds for these small birds but who needs to travel when you can plant sunflowers and attract them on your own property? Now, before you think ‘eeewww, gross’ or ‘aaawww, poor little birds’, read on. There are many residents on the Shore who rely on any game to fill their freezers for the winter. Bob only shoots what we will eat or share and this post has two recipes, including a bonus recipe requested by our dear friends Jeanne and Ron.
So often a meat will be described as ‘it tastes like chicken’… well, dove really does. It is not ‘gamey’ at all and quite moist. The breast is the only part you eat and they are quite small.
ACTUAL SIZE OF A DOVE WISHBONE: 1/2 INCH
I hope that you are lucky enough to have a friend who hunts dove and will share them with you. It is not available in stores.
The first recipe I created as a spin-off of traditional gumbo when I first started experimenting with dove as a meat in recipes. The recipe is listed in our local cookbook ‘Cook’s to the Rescue’. If you don’t have dove then replace it with chicken. Our friend Porter is kind enough to share his garden fresh okra as well which makes the dish even tastier.
ALI’S DOVE GUMBO
• 1/2 cup peanut oil
• 4 T. flour
• 1-1/2 cup diced onion
• 1-1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
• 1 lb. andouille sausage, crumbled out of casings
• 2 cups dove breast, large dice (8 boned breasts=1 cup)
• 1 lb. fresh chopped okra
• 3 quarts chicken stock (I use home made)
• 1 T. gumbo file powder
• 1 T. paprika
• 1 T. salt
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
• ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
• 6-8 cups cooked white rice
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine oil and flour to make a roux. Cook while stirring constantly until roux is dark brown. Remove from heat and stir in onion and pepper.
2. In a large heavy stockpot over medium heat, cook sausage until browned. Remove sausage and cook dove until browned.
3. Return sausage to pan and add okra, stock, file powder, paprika, salt and garlic. Mix in the roux thoroughly and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until dove is tender, approximately 1-1/2 hours.
4. Once dove is tender, stir in shrimp, thyme and parsley. Cook until shrimp is pink, about 5 minutes.
5. Serve gumbo over individual bowls of cooked rice. Serves 8-10 anxiously awaiting not-afraid-of-game-meat gumbo lovers.
Any gumbo is even better the next day after the seasonings have really kicked in. I’m not sure what other name you could use for this recipe but make it and call it your own. Serve it up with crusty bread and perhaps a salad and there’s your meal!
BONUS RECIPE: ALI’S DOVE BITES. Once you have tasted them you WILL crave them again!
Cut 4 filleted dove breasts into 4 pieces. Wrap each piece in ½ slice bacon and secure it with a toothpick. Broil or grill (certainly my method of choice for cooking) x 5 minutes. There is no need to marinate the breasts as the bacon will create the necessary seasonings/oil. I know you will agree- ANY FOOD is great when made with bacon!