A timely test post for dove:
This is a nice recipe for Braised Doves in Madeira Sauce from the LL Bean Game and Fish Cookbook, and it is also known to serve older birds well due to the braising technique:
4 doves (multiply as you wish, I know some of you take hundreds)
fresh lemon juice
salt + pepper
7 Tablespoons butter (divided roughly into 3T, 2T, and 2T)
3 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 Tablespoons flour
1/2 Cup Madeira (you can vary by using dry Marsala or sherry instead)
1/2 Cup chicken stock
1/4 Cup heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Rub the doves inside and out with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Brown them in 3 tablespoons of butter right in a casserole dish (I used a dutch oven), then saute the onions in 2 tablespoons of butter until the soften a little.
In a small skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons on butter, stir in the flour, and cook a minute or two. Heat level was not specified in the cookbook so I went with medium heat on the stovetop (more or less). Off the heat, stir in the wine, stock, and cream. Return to the stovetop (heat), stirring until the sauce thickens a bit.
Pour the sauce over the birds in the casserole, cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
NOTE: This time was directed by the cookbook, but knowing these birds to be little and lean I think I went more toward 25 minutes to preserve their juiciness. In any event, you obviously want your bird cooked safely, so err on the side of overcooking… but don’t just go the full 40 without taking a peek at them (and a poke with a fork) lest you wind up with tough birds!
For my full BLOG POST on the hunt and recipe, see here: