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  • By Ken and Maria Perrotte

Skillet-Fired Dove and Not-So-Dirty Rice! This Match was Made in Wing-Shooting Heaven

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

wild game cooking dove breasts and dirty rice

Includes "Cooking with Colton" video.

If you were fortunate enough to get in some autumn dove hunts last year and even more fortunate to have a few dove breasts still in your freezer, this is a good dish to work into your late fall or early winter culinary repertoire. Dove breasts are often wrapped in bacon and grilled on the bone. This preparation, though, has you separate the breast meat from the bone, making it more of a fork and knife meal easily served to family and friends. The recipe can be scaled proportionately.

Giblet gravy or stuffing is common fare when it comes to dishes involving other birds. A few years ago we experienced a dove hunt where the pickers reserved the birds’ small hearts. The hearts were brined for a short while and then rapidly cooked on small skewers over charcoal. They were delicate and tasty. Dirty rice recipes call for liver so we thought why not add dove hearts to the mix. It proved to be an excellent addition. Save those delectable dove hearts!

Because traditional dirty rice has such strong flavor, often punctuated by the liver, this recipe reduces the amount of chicken livers and sausage by about half so as to not overpower the dove meat. It's a "not-so-dirty," dirty rice. Recipe below serves 2 or 3 people. Match it up with a nice pinot noir from the pacific Northwest, a Spanish Rioja reserva, or

Skillet Doves Ingredients

2 TBSP olive oil

6 or 8 doves, breasted

½ medium onion

½ sweet pepper

1 medium sized tomato

5 or 6 mushrooms

2 celery stalks

2 small carrots

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 TSP herbs de Provence

Salt and pepper to taste

3 TBSP dry red wine


De-bone the dove breasts and brown in oil over medium heat. Remove and keep warm. Dice the vegetables and add to the pan, reducing heat to medium low. Cook until soft. Add the garlic and spices and cook another minute. Add the wine and return the doves to the pan. Add a little water if the mixture dries out. Cook until doves are done. Serves 2 or 3 people. Pair this dish up with a nice pinot noir wine from the Pacific Northwest, a Rioja Reserva from Spain or try it with a favored merlot. Just don't get too fruity with the wine pairing.

Not-So-Dirty Rice

½ pound ground meat

¼ pound sausage (sweet or spicy can be used, depending on your preference)

2 TBSP flour

½ onion

¼ cup chopped peppers (sweet or hot or both, depending on your preference)

1 rib celery

3 or 4 mushrooms

1 TBSP fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 large chicken livers

Dove hearts (if available)

½ to 1 TSP Creole seasoning

1 cup dry rice


Brown ground meat and sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain most of the fat, leaving about a tablespoon or two. Add the flour, stir briskly and cook for a couple minutes. Chop the vegetables and add to the skillet, cooking over medium low heat until soft. Chop the livers and add them, the garlic and hearts to the pan. Season to taste and cook until livers are done, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. Cook rice according to directions. Combine immediately with dirty mixture and serve.

Notes –

1. Don’t cook the rice ahead and reheat to add to the mixture. The texture won’t be right. If you don’t want to use a dirty rice, simply substitute a favored white or wild rice.

2. You can add rice and water to the skillet, cover and cook with the mixture to make a jambalaya/paella type dish.

3. You can vary the peppers and sausage depending on how spicy you want the dove dish.

4. Exact measurements aren’t critical.

5. Chop the vegetables for the rice and doves at the same time.

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