August 10, 2021

Bad Day Dove Risotto


Even 1 dove can feed 2 people with this recipe; use it to stretch a day’s hunt where the birds were flying with a stiff wind or your barrel was a little bit bent.  Substitute a cottontail, a duck or squirrel for the birds.

Serves 2

  • 1-4 doves, teal, quail or snipe, whole and plucked
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
  • 2 slices of good bacon, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Gizzards, hearts and livers from the doves
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ½ cup mushrooms, sliced thin (optional)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup rice for risotto, i.e. Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a medium pot, cover the doves and bay leaf with cold water and bring to a simmer; cook for about 2 hours, or until tender. Remove the doves and strain the stock into another pan. Set this pan over medium heat. When the doves are cool enough to handle, shred all of the meat from them and set aside.

In another pot, cook the bacon in the olive oil over medium-high heat until it begins to crisp. Add the gizzards, hearts and livers and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often. Add the onion and optional mushrooms and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the rice to the pan and cook for a couple minutes more, stirring and stirring. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Now, add a large ladle of the reserved dove stock to the pot and cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue to add stock to the rice, a ladle at a time, waiting until the stock is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but not mushy. The rice should have a little bite left to it, and should be very saucy and slightly pourable, not dense. Adjust as necessary with stock. Stir in the butter, cheese and reserved dove meat, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately on warm plates.

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