September means doves, teal, alligators, and football! Let’s start with doves, shall we? Dove season’s a great chance to knock a little dust off of your hunting skills. It’s one of those annual traditions that marks the dawn of a new hunting season. I didn’t grow up hunting doves (as my lack of shooting prowess will show you). However, nearly every year since my marriage to Mrs. Greatoutdoordinary, my father-in-law has scheduled a dove hunt in one part of Texas or another. It’s inexpensive, relaxed, easy to get to, you don’t have to worry about extraneous details like with other types of hunt, and it’s some of the most fun you can have with your cloths on. Plus, you can openly smack talk your hunting compadres’ shooting skills in the field without even spooking the game being hunted!
However, you’re left with the age old quandary of what to do with the meat. To breast or pluck, etc. Being from Louisiana, we usually end up making the first gumbo every fall with the first limit of doves. Dove gumbo is ten kinds of delicious, and signals the onset of alligator season, college football, opening day of bow season, and other harbingers of fall. However, I wanted to try something new this year. We harvested these white-winged beauties just outside of Seguin, Texas. This hunt had all of the iconic Texas imagery: cactus, scorpions, mesquite, and the fast flying white-winged dove. Every year on our trips to Texas, we end up eating great Tex-Mex food, so decided that I wanted a dove recipe that was in the vein of the hunting location.
Thus, the idea of the Dove Enchilada was born! This recipe worked out perfectly when using one limit of breasts. At the writing of this article a daily bag limit in my home state of Louisiana as well as the sate of Texas is 15 doves. This recipe could also be used for tons of other types of wild game, such as ducks, woodcock, pheasant, grouse, you name it.
First you need to make the Enchilada Sauce.
Ingredients for the Enchilada Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons of All Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon of Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon of Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground Chipotle Pepper (you can substitute Cayenne here, or omit if you are sensitive to heat)
- A very small pinch of Cinnamon (you can omit this part, but I highly recommend it).
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of Tomato Paste
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups of Beef Broth
- 1 tablespoon of White Vinegar (or Lime Juice)
- Heat up the olive oil in a sauce pot or large skillet until it is hot enough to sizzle flour when added.
- Mix your dry ingredients together in a bowl. Once the oil is heated, then add them to the hot oil.
- Using a roux spoon or whisk, brown the dry ingredients in the olive oil. This process is very similar to making a roux. You aren’t making it super dark, but the ingredients should be very fragrant, and should turn a darker brown color. The darker you make it, the deeper the flavor of the sauce.
- Once the sauce is browned, stir in 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I personally like the browned flavor of the sauce more than a “tomato-y” flavor, so I only use about 1 1/2 heaping spoon fulls (not actual tablespoons just a big dining spoon).
- Once the Tomato Paste is added, begin adding the Beef Broth little bits at a time while stirring until you get to the consistency/viscosity that you want. Keep in mind that this sauce will thicken slightly, so you may want to add a little bit extra liquid to account for that.
- Bring everything up to a simmer, stirring constantly to prevent sticking/scorching.
- Once simmered for a couple of minutes, turn down to low to keep warm.
- Add the vinegar (or lime juice), and stir into the sauce. Stir periodically while making the Enchiladas.
Ingredients for the Enchiladas:
- 15 Doves breasted & chopped
- Cajun seasoning (I used T-Boy’s Garlic Seasoning).
- 10″ Flour Tortillas
- 1-1 1/2 cup of Cajun Holy Trinity (chopped Celery, Bell Pepper, and Onion).
- 8 oz Shredded Cheese (I used colby & monterey jack, but just about anything will work here).
Preparation of the Enchiladas:
- Preheat oven for 350 degrees.
- Dice your dove breasts, then mix with Cajun seasoning.
- Using a 9.5″ x 13.5″ casserole dish, spread some Enchilada Sauce in the bottom of the dish.
- Next open a tortilla, and put a spoonful or two of the chopped celery, bell pepper, and onion mixture.
- Then add some of your diced dove breasts.
- Then add some shredded cheese.
- Then add some of your Enchilada sauce.
- Wrap the Enchilada up, and place it width ways in your casserole dish with the seam down (why not make it look pretty, right?)
- Continue this until you have filled your casserole dish with delicious goodness
- Drizzle the remainder of the Enchilada Sauce over the top of the Enchiladas, and cover with a layer of shredded cheese.
- Pop in the oven @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes, and enjoy.