By Chad Waligura
As far as I'm concerned, doves are one of the most under-appreciated delicacies when it comes to wild game fare. I grew up in Texas, but my mom is from Louisiana; as soon as I was old enough to start dove hunting, I was instructed to pick and clean all my birds and save the hearts and gizzards. I would've been punished if I didn't! It's a Cajun law to never waste any meat and cook almost everything in brown gravy. Well, it was in our family.
It's still a special occasion anytime we kill enough doves for a big meal across the Sabine River. Besides boiled crabs and crawfish, doves are the one thing they get excited about over there when I tell them I'm bringing some to cook. The average is 2-3 doves per person.
- 36 whole doves (picked & cleaned)
- Vegetable oil, for browning
- 4 stalks celery
- 2 large white onions
- 2 green bell peppers
- 1 quart chicken broth
- Tony Chachere’s Original Seasoning
- Tony Chachere’s Brown Gravy Mix
- 2 cans Campbell’s Golden Mushroom soup
- 4 cups white long grain rice
Season cleaned doves generously with Tony Chachere’s Original Seasoning (including hearts & gizzards) overnight in fridge. Be sure you remove the grit sacks from the gizzards before cooking.
Chop four stalks celery, two big onions, and two green bell peppers.
Brown doves in vegetable oil in a large pot. Remove browned hearts & gizzards first, then remove browned doves and add celery, onion & bell pepper to pot.
When veggies are cooked, add half a box of chicken broth and equal amount of water. Stir and let come to a boil. Add Tony’s Gravy Mix to 1 cup of water and add it in. Stir and sprinkle in a little more gravy mix to taste and color.
Add doves & hearts & gizzards and then add 1-2 cans of Campbell’s golden mushroom soup. Make sure the doves are below the gravy level. Add gravy and water as needed.
Cover and turn flame down to simmer. Cook for two hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Try the dove to see if it’s tender after the two hours have gone by. If not, cook longer and until the dove meat is tender.
Serve over white rice.