According to Texas Parks and Wildlife reports, dove numbers are good this year and should remain steady throughout the season. I know from my very unscientific personal observations I am seeing a lot of doves in fields across the county. Dove season started this week September 1, the first season runs through October 31, the second season runs from December 17, 2021- January 2, 2022.
When processed and prepared properly, wild dove makes excellent table fare. Handling of any wild game from the field to the table can make a huge difference in flavor and taste. Here are a few tips: Remove the entrails and skin soon after the kill to ensure rapid heat loss and the best meat quality. Clean the animal and keep it clean. As soon as possible get the dove cooled thoroughly and refrigerated. With our hot September temperatures, this will be important.
Unlike chicken or even quail, migratory birds like dove have dark breast meat. Dove meat is extremely lean (doves get plenty of exercise in their migration flights), it is reasonably tough, and it has a distinct, rich flavor that many city folks consider gamey. Dove meat has next to no fat, making it an extremely dry meat. When preparing dove one must keep these factors in mind. To combat the dryness of the meat and to keep from drying it out further, debone the breast and cut them in to making two pieces of breast meat. These can be wrapped in bacon or soaked in a marinade overnight. Never overcook dove, unless you like to chew a lot.
Here are a couple of different takes on dove preparation, but both are very good recipes.
JALAPENO DOVE POPPERS
De-boned dove breasts
1 can jalapeno peppers
1 tub cream cheese
1. Pre-heat grill
2. Rinse and dry dove breasts.
3. Slice jalapenos in half lengthwise. (Remove seeds and veins if you prefer less heat.)
4. Slather cream cheese in the open cavity of each jalapeno. Top with a dove breast, wrap in half a piece of bacon, and secure with a toothpick.
5. Grill poppers over medium-high heat for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning once. Salt and pepper to taste.
NEW ORLEANS dOVE
16 Dove Breast, Boned
1 ½ Cups Bulk Spicy Italian Sausage
1 Cup Okra
4 Cups Fresh Tomatoes, Chopped
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Celery Stalks, Chopped
½ Cup Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Cups Raw Rice
2 Cups Raw Shrimp
Salt and Pepper to Taste
In a heavy skillet, sprinkle sausage with creole seasoning. Fry until cooked. Remove and drain sausage. Place in Dutch oven. In skillet, sprinkle dove breasts with creole seasoning. Brown all sides in grease. Place browned breasts in Dutch oven.
In skillet, fry onion, celery, and bell pepper in sausage grease until tender. Drain and place in Dutch oven. Add tomatoes to Dutch oven then add enough chicken broth to cover everything. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 1 hour or until the dove is cooked through. Season to taste. Add rice and shrimp and simmer until rice is cooked. If you like gumbo, you will like this one.