The dove is Americas leading game bird. Flying at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour it has earned the nickname “grey demon” in hunting circles. They make for some fast shooting, and is excellent table fare. The meat is second to none in flavor, and this recipe really makes them a special meal. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list, this is really easy to cook, and it all comes together rather quickly.

Ingredients
Brine

  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Recipe

  • 10 whole dove breasts
  • 3 strips of Bacon
  • Splash of wine
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 lb linguine or other pasta, cooked al dente and drained

Preparation Method
First of all, brine the birds. Brining enhances the natural flavor and helps prevent it from drying out during cooking. In a non-metallic bowl, mix the salt and sugar with the water. Add the dove and refrigerate a minimum of one hour to overnight. Pull the birds from the marinade and pat them dry. Remove each side breast from the breastbone, then cut each one into 2-3 bite size pieces.

I have not provided instruction on the actual boiling of the pasta, as this will vary with type used, and can be found on the package. Linguine works really well with this sauce, but any pasta will work (I used a Cavatappi in the photo). Boil the water as you are making the sauce, and have it ready to cook the pasta when the sauce is almost finished.

In a large skillet fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside on a paper towel lined plate. Add the dove pieces to the bacon fat and saute over medium heat until just turning brown, stirring frequently. (3-4 minutes) Remove the meat from the pan and reserve on a plate. Throw a splash of wine in the pan and stir, scraping all the flavorful brown tidbits from the bottom of the pan. Do not discard these, they incorporate in the sauce and are the flavor base. Now melt the butter in the same pan and add the onion. Saute the onion for 6 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Toss in the mushrooms, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes, and cook until the mushrooms are soft. (10 minutes or so) Crumble the bacon and add it, along with the cream and the cheese. Stir well and cook an additional 2 minutes. Fold the dove into the sauce and add the parsley. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. The sauce is now ready to add to your pasta. Pour the sauce over the pasta and blend well. You are ready to serve this delicious pasta recipe to your family or dearest friends. Have a nice crunchy French bread ready, and serve with either a Pinot Noir or a well oaked California Chardonnay. I have some excellent wines to accompany this recipe, and all your game dinners, available at www.wildgamewine.com.
Cheers!