Dove breasts are like tiny steaks, and they are fantastic dusted in flour and served like German jägerschnitzel, which means “hunter’s cutlets.”
At its core, jägerschnitzel, is a thin cutlet of meat served with a mushroom gravy, or in this case lots of little bite-sized cutlets. And, while this is a great recipe for boneless dove breasts, like I said, any meat works.
What does it taste like? Damn good. If your heat is high enough when you cook the dove cutlets, the center will still be pink, like a dove should be. And the mushroom gravy is, well gravy, man — and who doesn’t like gravy?
So give this one a go before you run out of doves this season.
Figure on at least 3 dove breasts per person, meaning both halves so 6 pieces. Fries, roasted, boiled or mashed potatoes would be a good accompaniment. Oh yeah, and beer. German, of course!
Serves 4, and can be scaled up.
- Breast meat from 12 to 16 doves
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 5 tablespoons bacon fat or butter, divided
- Flour for dusting, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 cup chicken or beef stock
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Black pepper to taste
Place the dove breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them until they are about 1/8 inch thick.
Put the mushrooms in a large frying pan and turn the heat to high. Shake the mushrooms in the pan so they don’t stick and cook until they release their water, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons bacon fat and the chopped onions and fry everything until the onions begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Set aside the mushrooms and onions for now.
Dust the dove breasts in flour. Add the remaining fat to the pan and heat it over medium-high heat. Sear the dove breasts for 1 minute. Keep them from curling up with a spatula. Flip and sear another minute for medium doneness. Remove the meat to a plate and put it in an oven set to “warm.”
Add the 2 tablespoons flour and mix with the fat in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and let the flour-and-fat mixture cook until it is the color of coffee-with-cream. Slowly pour in the stock, plus any juices that have come off the cutlets while they rest. You should have a thick gravy. If it is thin, let this boil down a minute or two. If it is really thick, turn off the heat, wait for the sauce to stop bubbling and stir in the sour cream.
Add the mushrooms and onions back to the pan and toss to coat in the sauce. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Pour this over the dove and serve at once. Garnish with the parsley.
A member of both Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, Hank Shaw is a hunter, cookbook author and award-winning writer. His website is Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (www.honest-food.net). He lives near Sacramento, CA.