Many years ago the hunters and fishermen of the area formed a group called the Northeast Oklahoma Sportsman Club. Each year they would have a banquet where they would serve fish caught by their members, as well as wild game that was also supplied by its membership. I remember attending the banquet a couple of times to feast on the wild game and fish. It was always a great event to attend. This was back in the mid 1970’s when I attended their banquet.
At that time in my life, hunting, fishing, and trading guns was all I thought about. I used to attend gun shows with my grandfather and we would go to trade firearms. Each year on Labor Day weekend, my father’s side of the family would have a family reunion at an old country church way out west of Welch. My cousins, who were also avid hunters and gun traders, would attend and we would discuss the upcoming hunting season and show off our new firearms we planned to use for that years hunting.
I was a newlywed during this timeframe, had just gone to work at B.F. Goodrich and my wife also had a good job, so one year for Christmas she bought me a new Browning Automatic shotgun as a present. It was a gift I’ll never forget, because I had always wanted one of those guns, but never felt I could afford one. I hunted many years with that shotgun.
The Labor Day weekend also marked the beginning of the hunting seasons, with the opening of dove season, and as with most other hunters, I couldn’t wait to get a field and start shooting. I was always taught to never bag more game than you could eat, and not to be shooting any game that you did not plan to eat.
Now let’s be honest, wild game of all kinds, cannot compare to any meat that is raised domestically, and that includes quail and pheasant. I know, because I used to raise quail and pheasant and preferred the pen-raised birds over the wild ones. But, that is only natural because wild game feed on what is available, and domesticated birds and animals are fed especially for slaughter. Now with that being said, that is not to say that wild game cannot be tasty, it just takes a little imagination in the preparation. I have in the past fed wild game to people that claim they don’t like wild game, but ate it and enjoyed it, because they didn’t know what they were eating. Now quail and pheasant are pretty straight forward, but when it comes to ducks and dove, you need to use a little imagination to make them tasty; I’m still searching for ways to improve a goose or prairie chicken??? The recipe I’m posting today is for dove, this recipe is very similar to how I prepare chicken livers which always turns out delicious, and so the theory here is, if it works for chicken livers, it should also work for dove too, shouldn’t it?
10 to 12 dove breasts, filleted from the bone
Milk (enough to cover the breasts in)
2 eggs, beaten
1 clove of garlic, minced
Vegetable oil for cooking
2 cups flour (or substitute 1 cup flour for breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a medium bowl, add the dove breasts and cover with the milk, eggs, and garlic. Cover in plastic and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
When ready to cook, heat vegetable oil in a skillet or pot, enough so that it fills the sides of the skillet by at least 3 inches.
In a medium bowl add flour, breadcrumbs (if using), paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and stir
with your fingers or a fork. Remove one dove breast at a time from the milk with a slotted spoon and dip into the flour and breadcrumb mixture until it is covered.
Dip one side of the breast into the hot oil to see if it immediately sizzles. If it doesn’t, wait for the oil to get hotter. Keep testing with the same dove breast until it sizzles, then add more breaded dove breasts, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Once one side of the breast is golden brown, turn it over and cook the other side until golden brown.
Cover a plate with paper towel. Remove the breasts from the pot with a fork or slotted spoon and place on the paper towel. Sprinkle all sides with salt. Repeat until all the dove breasts are cooked and serve immediately.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or cream gravy (I use Jalapeno White Gravy)