Cooking doves in lemonade may sound strange—but it's become the author's go-to recipe.. David Draper
Cooking doves in lemonade may sound strange—but it’s become the author’s go-to recipe. David Draper

This unusual recipe from Wild Chef reader 2bigabear was a winner in a contest we held way back in 2011. Since then, it’s become my go-to way to cook up dove breasts—even beating out that worn-out classic preparation of bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. It’s so good, I thought it was worth sharing again.

I’ve also found it works great for duck breasts, particularly those from divers as the citrus and vinegar does a good job dealing with off flavors of those sometimes-fishy ducks. I know the use of lemonade sounds unusual, but it really does work. This is a pretty simple dish, but you can make it even easier by pouring everything together in a slow-cooker set to low and letting it simmer all day.

Lemonade Doves

15 dove breasts
1 12-oz. can lemonade concentrate
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. water

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
2. Place the dove breasts in the bottom of a Dutch oven and season liberally with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the lemonade, brown sugar, and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the lemonade mix over dove breasts, then pour everything into the Dutch over and cover with a lid.
3. Place in the oven, and cook for 3 to 4 hours. Transfer the doves to plate, and debone if necessary.
4. Mix 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. water. Add them to the pan sauce to thicken. Return the meat to the Dutch oven, and stir to coat. Serve over rice or noodles.