Dove hunting usually heralds the beginning of hunting season. Unless you are archery hunting deer, doves are the first season to open up. In fact more Americans shoot a gun on opening day of dove season than any other day of the year. It is a great sport for the whole family. The weather is still warm and there is not a whole lot of specialized gear needed. Doves can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour, and on a windy day can make for some really challenging targets.
Mourning doves are the most common type of dove. They are in fact the most frequently hunted species in North America. They are found in almost every state in America. The Eurasian collared dove is a larger bird and will really enhance the amount of meat your hunt can provide. They are considered an invasive species, are highly dispersive, and are rapidly spreading around North America. There is no limit on this variety of dove and they can be taken all year around in many states. As with any type of hunting activity, check your local hunting regulations before heading into the field.
This recipe is tailored for dove, but will work equally as well with quail, pheasant, or even teal. Brining the doves overnight is a must, as it really keeps them moist and tender. Try this recipe and your shotgun shooting out this season on some quick-flying “gray demons”.
- 4 cups water
- ¼ cup kosher salt
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 10 dove breasts
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 4 cups bread crumbs
- Canola oil
Put the salt, brown sugar, and water into a medium bowl, and stir until fully dissolved. Transfer the liquid to a gallon zip-lock plastic bag and add the doves. Brine the dove breasts in the refrigerator, for a minimum of 2 hours, or ideally overnight. Remove from the brine and pat dry. With a sharp knife separate the two breast lobes from the breastbone. Place each lobe between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound them GENTLY with a meat tenderizer (mallet). Do not tear the flesh, and work toward achieving a nice ¼ inch thick medallion.
Next you need to set up your breading station. You will need 3 shallow bowls. In the first one put the flour and season with salt and pepper. (I also like to add some garlic powder and paprika for additional flavor.) The second bowl is for the wet ingredients, so add the eggs and milk, and whisk together well. The breadcrumbs go into the third bowl. (I prefer the seasoned Italian variety, but use any breading you like.)
Dip each medallion into the seasoned flour, and then shake off the excess and into the egg bath. Flip over until fully coated and transfer to the breadcrumbs. Cover fully with the breadcrumbs and press them onto the meat to evenly coat.
Heat a mixture of half oil and half butter in a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add some of the coated breasts to the pan and cook until golden brown (about 2 minutes) and flip to cook the other side. Cook them in small batches to keep the heat in the pan constant, assuring a nice even doneness.
The dove meat adds an extraordinary richness to these cutlets. They are really exceptional in this recipe. Accompany them with some garlic mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. The meal pairs well with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a nice chilled India Pale Ale. This is a great way to break away from the traditional bacon wrapped doves, and well worthy of a full limit to prepare for your family and friends.