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Dove Empanada Recipe

A traditional Latin American dish with a punch of flavor.

Dove Empanada Recipe

This dove recipe is a great way to give your taste buds a kick as you kick-start your fall hunting season. (Photo By: Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley)

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This recipe is a nod to all the marketing emails I receive on dove hunting in Argentina but will probably never get around to going—it’s much cheaper to shoot and miss doves at home.

Joking aside, if I ever make it to this South American country, eating an empanada or two would be at the top of my list of things to do.

Empanadas are Latin America’s version of the turnover, usually filled with savory ingredients rather than sweet. It was first brought to Central and South America by the Spanish, and today, there are as many versions of the empanada as there are grandmothers in any given region. The version I’m offering is associated with Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city of Argentina. The carne suave empanada is typically filled with minced ground beef, peppers and onion, and many recipes include raisins for a touch of sweetness and green olives for a burst of briny flavor. Minced, hardboiled egg is also a typical ingredient, but I’m skipping it in my recipe.

These dove empanadas include a mixture of half ground dove meat and half ground pork. Pork provides richness without overpowering this game bird, as I think beef would’ve done. Choose a fatty ground pork mixture. I used 80/20 ground Duroc pork to mix in with the dove meat—an older breed of pig that provided great flavor on its own while allowing the flavor of dove to shine through. Depending on how much dove you have on hand, you could adjust the dove to pork ratio to your liking.

If you don’t feel like dragging out the meat grinder just to mince a little bit of dove meat, don’t. Partially thaw or partially freeze dove breasts so that they become hard enough to easily slice. Slice the breasts into “sticks,” and then chop those sticks into small dices. To finish off, I gave the meat some extra mincing with a cleaver. That’s how you grind meat without a machine.

Goya makes frozen empanada dough for frying and baking—I chose to fry. You can find the dough at most Mexican or Latin American grocery stores. To substitute Goya empanada dough, I’ve read of people using puff pastry for turnovers, which will work, but I don’t think will give you the texture that’s close to empanada dough, which actually isn’t flaky at all. Empanada dough is thin and light. When you fry it up, the surface gets bubbly, a lot like egg roll wrappers. You could experiment to see what you like best.

dove empanada recipe
These dove empanadas include a mixture of half ground dove meat and half ground pork. (Photo By: Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley)

Serves: 15-18 empanadas
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of ground dove breasts
  • 1/2 pound fatty ground pork
  • 2 packages of Goya Empanada Dough (20 discs)
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbs. sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken/game stock
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins)
  • 5 Spanish Queen green olives, rinsed and coarsely chopped

Cooking Directions:

  1. Thaw empanada dough in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, heat 1 tbs. of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Spread out ground dove and pork into the skillet and allow the bottom to form a crust before stirring and cooking the rest of the way. Then lower heat to medium.
  4. Transfer meat to a plate or bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, add an additional tablespoon of oil, onion, bell pepper and a pinch of salt.
  6. Sauté until softened, but do not brown.
  7. Then stir in cumin, paprika, oregano and garlic for 30 seconds.
  8. Next, return ground meat to the skillet and season with about 1½ tsp. kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.
  9. Add chicken stock and simmer until mixture is no longer watery, but still moist, stirring occasionally.
  10. Take off heat.
  11. Stir in coarsely chopped olives (about ¼ cup) and raisins. Allow mixture to cool before filling empanadas. Mixture could be made a couple days in advance.
  12. Place about two heaping tablespoons of cooled filling onto each disc of empanada dough.
  13. Brush the edge with water and fold over to form half circles.
  14. Crimp with a fork. Heat frying oil to 325-350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  15. Fry empanadas in batches until golden on both sides and drain.
  16. Keep warm in an oven and serve hot. To reheat empanadas, pop them in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes.
  17. *You can also freeze unfried empanadas to fry later. To do this, lay assembled empanadas on a cookie sheet, not touching, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top bag. Consume within three months.


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