Beer battered dove

For more food-related blogs from Georgia Pellegrini, check out her website www.GeorgiaPellegini.com.

I spent Labor Day weekend cruising the cotton fields of the Arkansas Delta. By the end of it, there were more doves than any one person could consume.

And so I invented recipes to keep it interesting, as well as included some classic recipes from the Italian's in the region -- 14 Dove Putach, for example.

I'm a purist and like to use as many parts of the animal as I can, which meant a few of my fellow hunters were plucking feathers with me in order to use the whole bird. The results were worth it, and so if you're feeling detail oriented, I suggest you try that Putach recipe. Or even a dove stock, which freezes well.

But if you simply like to breast your bird, then I highly recommend this: Beer Battered Fried Dove Breast.


Beer Battered Dove

It's simple and only requires ingredients that are usually on hand anyway during a dove hunt: birds and beer. Upon tasting it one person uttered, "This makes me want to learn to shoot better."

I recommend a sweet and sour dipping sauce, or even a BBQ sauce to serve it with. But it's also nice on it's own.

The beer and baking soda give it a puffiness along with the crunch. It's the perfect compliment to that rich liver flavor dove tends to have. Check out the photo slideshow for some extra guidance.

And if you have a favorite dove recipe, submit it to the kitchen for us to try. 'Tis the season for dove meat, which is a prelude to wonderful hunts and recipes about to happen this fall.

Beer Battered Fried Dove Breast

30 dove breasts, bone in
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 can beer
4 cups vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse the dove breasts under cold water until the water runs clear.

2. Pat the dove breasts dry with paper towel and set aside on a plate.

3. In a medium sized pot, wide enough to hold about 8 dove breasts at a time, add the vegetable oil and begin heating it on medium flame. The wider your pot, the more vegetable oil you will need to completely submerge the dove breasts.

4. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly whisk in the beer until the liquid is uniform and the consistency of a thick syrup.

5. Using your fingers or a fork, dip one breast into the batter until it is uniformly covered. Dip one side of the breast into the hot oil to see if it immediately sizzles. If it doesn't, wait for the oil to get hotter. Keep testing with the same dove breast, then add more breasts, enough to cover the bottom of the pot.

6. Once one side of the breast is golden brown, turn it over and cook the other side until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes total.

7. Cover a plate with paper towel. Remove the breasts from the pot with a fork or slotted spoon and place on the paper towel. Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.

8. Repeat until all of the dove breasts are cooked and serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

Editor's note: Georgia's passion for good food began at an early age, on a boulder by the side of a creek as she caught her trout for breakfast. After Wellesley and Harvard -- and a brief stint on Wall Street -- she decided to leave the cubicle world behind and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City.

Upon graduating at the top of her class, she worked in two of America's best restaurants, Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, as well as in one of the premier destination restaurants in Provence, France, La Chassagnette. It was there that she decided it was time to really get at the heart of where our food comes from and head to the source -- Mother Nature. She bought a shotgun and set her sites on the cutting edge of culinary creativity intent on pushing the boundaries of American gastronomy, from field to stream to table.

Her new book, "Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition" is available wherever books are sold. She currently roams the world, hunting, tasting good food and meeting the good people who make it. You can read more about her work at www.GeorgiaPellegrini.com.