Monday, September 24, 2012

Dove Season and the "New" Cookbook

It's dove season here in South Texas and that means Ben is out every chance he gets-- on the hunt to "put food on the table" as he puts it.  He likes to pretend he doesn't know how food gets "on the table" when it isn't dove season, I guess.  Anyway, people have all sorts of ideas about hunting, but in Colorado (where we grew up) and in Texas (where we live now), it's a way of life, so I figure the best thing to do is to make good use of the "hunt" and put it on the table!  When Marie was a little girl, she was shocked that her father would hunt "the bird of God" as she called the doves, so Ben did operate under some controversy around here for awhile!  I think Marie's views have become less "radical" since she was 4 though :)
Anyway, so last weekend, Ben got quite a few really nice birds, and it happened that I had a very interesting recipe from an old cookbook I had found on our trip to Montana.  The cover, as you can see, was in rough shape, but the book itself is signed and is in good condition.  Published in 1970, the title is "Mangiamo (Let's Eat!)".  It was written by Sylvia Sebastiani, the wife of the California vinter, August Sebastiani.  Obviously, it showcases cooking with wine, but it is a collection of Mrs. Sebastiani's recipes, not just a wine advertisement.   So, I tried her recipe titled simply, "Doves", and it is fantastic!  If you've never tried doves, they are dark-meated and have a mild, non-gamey flavor.  Usually, only the breasts are used.  I like to soak them overnight in salty water because this makes them moist and more tender, but it's not necessary.  If you don't have access to doves, or you just don't want to "go there", this recipe would be just as yummy with chicken thighs or duck breasts.   Served with polenta with a crisp green salad, this was a perfect fall dinner!  "Food on the table" indeed!

Mrs. Sebastiani's "Doves"
8-10 dove breasts
2 Tbl. flour
4 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. butter
2 cloves chopped garlic
1.5 cups white wine (Chardonnay is good)
1-2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves
2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Sprinkle the dove breasts with salt and pepper liberally.  Dust with flour and brown in oil and butter.  Add the garlic and herbs and cook another minute or so, stirring to incorporate with the doves.  Add the wine, stir around, and simmer, covered until the doves are tender-- about 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve with polenta.
Note:  If the dove breasts are relatively large and you have time, it is nice to bone them out.  It makes them easier to brown and to eat.  However, they taste great either way!


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