This recipe for Dove Jalapeno Poppers is a simple combination of recipes from friends and the internet. It only uses a few seasonings, some toothpicks and four ingredients: Organic Dove Meat, Garden Fresh Jalapeños, Cream Cheese and Thinly Sliced Bacon. I prepared these for Todd and me after dove hunting on our property, literally, in our back pasture. Making these Dove Jalapeno Poppers will be a tradition in our family from this point forward.
The recipe starts with getting the dove meat. If you haven’t ever dove hunted, I highly recommend you add it to your bucket list of things to do. On the second day of dove season, we hit the field at opening light. We divided our pasture in half, with Todd taking the North edge, and me the South.
It was cool, because we could see each other across the field the entire time we were out hunting, and we each had an equal area to hunt. Point of safety: when dove hunting, you should predetermine Shooting Lanes or Zones of Fire so that each person has a designated area that they are shooting. Learn more at Hunter-Ed.com.
To prepare for dove season, Todd bush-hogged (mowed) the pasture a day or two before the season opener. The doves eat seeds off the ground and don’t like to walk through tall grass. Dove also eat sand and gravel to help their food process in their gizzards. A freshly cut field is a perfect habitat for them.
Dove hunting in its application is easy, but actually hitting the doves, I found to be a bit challenging. You literally take a chair, stool or bucket and sit on the edge of a field and wait for the doves to fly by. If they are in your zone of fire, you shoot them. My equipment list was pretty simple:
There are many people who just hunt doves in jeans and a t-shirt. They get birds, so I’m not one to say they are wrong. I like to conceal myself. I wear my TrueTimber spring turkey pants and shirt dove hunting and my Lacrosse rubber boots. If I can, I’ll set my stool up with a tree or brush behind me so I blend into the surroundings.
Remember to lead a dove
The reason dove hunting is challenging is because they fly at up to 55 miles per hour. They also like to fly high just out of shotgun range. I was getting slightly frustrated after several misses and Todd texted me to lead twice as far as I thought I needed to.
Leading with a shotgun is putting your aim ahead of your target. I changed the distance I was leading and found success. Thankfully, after a full morning of sitting in Nature, quietly contemplating my life and occasionally taking a shot at a dove, Todd and I had six birds. That’s plenty for our Organic Dove Jalapeno Poppers.
Time to clean the doves
To prepare the meat, I had to clean the birds. The edible meat on a dove is their breasts. To get to the meat, you grab or pinch the skin under the feathers with your fingers and pull it apart. The skin will split and expose the breast meat.
You then continue to pull the skin until the entire breast is exposed. You can cut the wings off before or after this part, but I find it easiest to do it before, but often forget. Then you take your thumb and push it up between the breast and the innards of the bird, and pull it off.
Wash the feathers off, and set it aside for later. You can watch a video of me cleaning all six doves. It took me 13 minutes, but the more I cleaned them the faster I got.
Take the dove breasts to the sink. Rinse them off and ensure any shot that may be in them is removed You can pick it out with a knife, squeeze it out, or sometimes push it all the way through. Then pat it dry with a paper towel.
Cut the meat off the breast bone, the same way you would for a chicken by sliding your sharp knife down the cartilage of the breast bone. Your meat is now ready to be transformed into a yummy Organic Dove Jalapeno Popper.
Speaking of jalapenos. We were lucky enough to still have a bounty of fresh peppers in our garden. I picked four.
To make the Organic Jalapeno Poppers.
- Salt and Pepper both sides of the dove breast.
- Cut Jalapenos in quarters long ways and remove seeds. Note: you can also do this in slices.
- I recommend you use a block of cream cheese. Cut a strip of cream cheese, about 1/8” wide, by as long as your jalapeno pepper; and then spread it on the pepper (the side where the seeds were).
- Put a piece of dove meat on top (I used ½ of the entire breast).
- Wrap the jalapeno, cheese and meat in a piece of thinly sliced bacon, and hold closed with two toothpicks.
- Grill on low heat or bake at 425 degrees until bacon is crispy. NOTE: eating raw bacon can be harmful, so ensure it is cooked thoroughly.
Note: I don’t eat a lot of cheese, so I also made these with sliced jalapeno, dove meat and wrapped it in bacon. These made little bites that were delicious!
Dove season is normally in September all around the country. Check your State’s Hunting Regulations and make a plan to go out and enjoy nature, and get the main ingredient needed for these Organic Jalapeno Poppers. I certainly plan to make more of these before the season ends.
I wish I could describe to you the feeling of being able to truly provide a meal for my family from the field to the table. The experience of hunting adds a level of reward to the menu that you can’t replicate with food from the grocery store.
There is a quiet confidence in knowing, “I can” that provides a level of gratitude and desire to go out and do it all over again. My hope is that you are inspired to get outside, enjoy nature and provide and prepare a great meal for your family, too.
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