Hunting camp is about spending time with people you enjoy. And camp food is the ultimate comfort food. You’re eating because, more than likely, you are going out into the elements, expending energy, and you need fuel to thrive. Camp foods—like this potpie—are typically loaded with complex carbs and protein for energy. It’s just guys’ food, really.
—John Currence, City Grocery, Oxford, Miss.
There’s something soul-satisfying and even glorious about mixing up a pile of potpie on your plate so that each spoonful delivers a little bit of everything: meat, veggies, sauce, and crust. This is the meal you want after a long, cold day in the woods. Just looking at the gorgeous golden crust when it comes out of the oven is enough to warm you up—and make you feel comfortable.
12 doves, cleaned and marinated in enough Coca-Cola to cover for 4 hours
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 3-inch sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cups Burgundy (or whatever red wine you have at camp)
8 cups water
1⁄4 cup, plus 3 Tbsp., bacon fat
3 Tbsp. flour
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 potato, diced
1 carrot, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1 cup English peas
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
8 cups dove stock
1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper
2 9-inch piecrusts
Prepare the doves: Drain Coca-Cola from the doves and combine them in a stockpot with the other nine ingredients. Bring to a boil and let simmer over low heat for 90 minutes. (While it simmers, skim off any scum and fat that float to the surface.)
When the doves are tender, strain the stock and reserve; remove the doves and let them cool. Pull and shred the dove meat and set aside.
Make a light brown roux: In a cast-iron skillet, heat the 3 Tbsp. of bacon fat. Add the flour, whisking constantly until the flour is fully incorporated. Reduce the heat to low and continue whisking until the roux turns a light golden color, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Prepare the pie: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a shallow but large soup pot, sauté the onion and garlic in peanut oil and the remaining bacon fat until tender. Add the potato and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until the potato begins to brown. Stir in the peas, dove meat, and herbs. Blend in the roux, then the reserved stock, and simmer until the mix thickens. Stir in the red wine vinegar and season with salt and black pepper.
Line a deep 9-inch pie plate with pie dough, making sure the dough overlaps the edges. Add the filling and cover with the other piecrust. Fold the upper edges around the pie tin and press off, making a clean, sealed edge. Crimp the edge with the tines of a fork. Brush the top with beaten whole egg and cut slits in the top to vent the steam.
Bake on a rimmed cookie sheet until golden, about 35 minutes. Serve immediately, but it will be lava-hot, so be careful. Serves 4 (plus a little for the dog)