Crock Pot Doves with Mushroom Gravy

We’ve had a cold, snowy Winter, which has made it easy to trap invasive European Collared Doves (read post). Trapping has been good, so we have tried a few different recipes.

I am sick of recipes that tell me to wrap dove breasts in bacon. It sounds like a good idea, but it doesn’t really work. The bacon either gets too done or the dove is still tough. And why mess up bacon? Nothing better than crispy fried or baked bacon. I am sure you’ve heard the joke about this method for duck. It says to cook until bacon is done, then throw away the duck breast and eat the bacon.

This recipe compliments the dove flavor, but doesn’t over power it and the doves will be tender. This is a homemade, full bodied, all natural, real food recipe that dove meat deserves. Don’t ruin it with margarine, vegetable oil or canned cream of mushroom soup.

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Dove with Mushroom Gravy Ingredients List:

For Crock Pot:

  • 6 dove breasts (whole with breast bones or fillets)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 celery stalk diced
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (use slightly more table salt)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons real butter, bacon drippings, pork fat or lard

For Gravy:

  • Broth from crock pot
  • Whole Milk or Half & Half
  • All purpose flour
  • Real butter, bacon drippings, pork fat or lard
  • Optional cornstarch or arrow root

Place dove breasts on bottom of crock pot. Add veggies, herbs, seasoning, fat and water on top.

Cook on low heat for 9 – 10 hours or until doves have the desired texture. If you remove the dove breasts too soon, they will still be tough. If you wait too long, they will break apart. I like to cook until breasts can be easily removed from the breast bones, which takes us about 10 hours. But we live at 5,600 feet elevation, so cooking times should be longer for us than most of you.

Carefully remove dove breast and set them aside and remove the bay leaf. If the breasts are well done, they will break apart. This is not a problem unless you leave the breast bone on because the small rib bones will get lost in mix and will have to be picked out.

How you gonna make crockpot doves if you don’t have a crockpot?

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Now make the gravy. This post is about making smoky gravy, but has all the basics of making good gravy if you need a refresher. The rule of thumb for gravy is to use equal parts fat and flour and about 8 times that amount in milk and/or broth, so for every cup of gravy, you need 2 tablespoons fat, 2 tablespoons flour and 16 tablespoons (about 1 cup) milk and/or broth.

Drain and measure the amount of the liquid. You should have about 1½ to 2 cups of liquid. You can turn all or part of this into gravy, but if you only use part for the gravy, you will need to thicken the rest with cornstarch or arrow root or it will make the gravy too thin when you add it back to the mixture.

We usually add enough milk or Half and Half to the broth to make 2½ – 3 cups total liquid. For that amount of liquid, you will need 5 or 6 tablespoons of fat and 5 or 6 tablespoons flour. Melt the fat in a pan or skillet on medium heat and slowly add the flour into it. Stir and mash the mixture around until you have a smooth paste and cook for 3 – 5 minutes for a white roux or longer if you can wait. It takes 15 – 20 minutes for a blond roux and 30 – 35 minutes brown roux. Note: By this time, I’m so hungry I can’t wait more than 5 or 6 minutes.

Remove the roux from the heat and add the broth and milk mixture and then stir like crazy, but be careful not to splash. Put the pan or skillet back on medium-high heat and continue stirring until the gravy bubbles and starts to thicken. When it reaches desired thickness, remove from heat and add the veggies and herbs from the Crock Pot to the gravy and mix in. You can add the doves if you don’t care if the breast halves are broken or not.

Serve the dove breasts and mushroom gravy over rice or toast. Enjoy, but be careful or your tongue will try to beat your brains out.

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  1. Amanda Procter says

    Do I have to leave the meat on the bones or can I cut them off the breast bone? I think it would be easier to separate meat from bone beforehand

    • Hi Amanda. I usually leave the bones and pull the meat of after tender… Obviously, if you wait too long the bones will not only separate from the meat, but will also separate from each other. Then you will have to pick the bones (mostly ribs, but also upper part of wing bones if they are still attached) out individually, which is not easy.
      If you are good with the filet knife, go ahead and get all that good breast meat before cooking, but cooking bones always adds flavor to the broth.

  2. David Krueger says

    This is very similar to the dove recipe my mother used when I was growing up. It was delicious and I look forward to trying your recipe.

Comments, Opinions, Questions?