Doves are America’s most popular game bird, and they are really tasty! They are accessible to hunt in almost every state and can really challenge your shooting ability. Its flight speed has been clocked at 40-55 mph. This fact combined with its sharp eye-sight and the ability to turn on a dime, make it an extremely difficult bird for a hunter to hit. This makes them incredibly fun to hunt, and look forward to September 1st which is opening day for this exceptional game bird in most states.

Ingredients

  • 10 Dove breasts
  • Cajun seasoning
  • 1lb sliced bacon (not the thick cut)
  • 5 fresh jalapeno peppers
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 20 toothpicks
  • Milk
  • 1 egg
  • All-purpose flour
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil

Preparation Method
Bone out the dove breast that you have two bone-less half breast sections. Just use a sharp knife and slice them off from each side of the keel bone. Season these liberally with Cajun seasoning. Wash and cut the jalapeno peppers lengthwise into quarters and de-seed them.

Lay the bacon strips on a large work surface and cut off the skinny end so it is about ¾ of the original length. Place a dove breast on one end of the bacon strip. Add a dollop of cream cheese (about a teaspoon) and a slice of jalapeno. Roll the bacon tightly around the combination until it is fully cocooned in bacon. Use a toothpick to secure the end of the bacon through the roll.

At this point I would usually grill these till done and it has long been the gold standard method of dove cookery. To kick these up another notch (Thanks Emeril for that verbiage) we are going to give them a crunchy panko crust. Yes indeed, another notch!

You will need to arrange 2 small bowls and 2 plates for breading. In the first bowl pour about a cup of milk. In the second bowl beat an egg into about ½ cup of milk. On the first plate blend some of the Cajun seasoning into about 1 ½ cups flour. On the second plate add the same amount of panko breadcrumbs.

Dip the wrapped “poppers” into the milk first, and then fully cover with the flour mixture. Next into the milk and egg mixture and then into the panko crumbs. When fully coated remove to a plate and prepare to fry.

Preheat a couple of inches of vegetable oil in a frying pan or pot. I like to use a tall pot about 8 “ wide so as not to make a big mess. Bring the oil to 325 degrees F. Keep the temperature regulated as too high a heat will overcook the breadcrumbs without cooking the interior. Add the dove balls in small batches and cook, flipping once about 8 minutes. Check one buy cutting in half to make sure they are done. The dove breast should still be slightly rare in the center. Remove to a wire rack to cool when finished and remove the toothpicks.