Chris Hastings on cooking two of the season’s best birds.

There’s nothing like food fresh from the field and there’s no season in the South more known for its special flavors than Fall. In this season, when the days are getting shorter and the fields are filled with dove and quail, there’s no one better to turn to for ways to cook wild game than Chef Chris Hastings. And, we’re lucky that he and Idie are a part of our family.

Not only did they pick Pepper Place for OvenBird, but in the coming months, Hot and Hot Fish Club will be opening its doors and patio at Pepper Place. So, from our family to yours, here are a couple recipes to cook fall’s best birds.

Dove Breasts Wrapped in Benton’s Bacon

Yield: 4 servings

  • 24 DOVE BREAST HALVES (FROM 12 DOVE), ABOUT 14 OUNCES
  • ¾ TSP KOSHER SALT
  • ¾ TSP FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
  • 12 PAPER-THIN SLICES (ABOUT 3 OUNCES TOTAL) BENTON’S BACON (or other local smoked slab bacon), CUT IN HALF CROSSWISE
  • 2 TBS PEANUT OIL, DIVIDED
  1. Season the dove breast halves on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Wrap each breast in a half slice of bacon. (The bacon does not have to completely cover the dove breast.)
  3. Heat 1 tbs of peanut oil in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet over medium high heat just until the oil begins to smoke. Add half of the wrapped breasts, seam side down and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the breast and cook for 1 more minute (for medium rare) or until the bacon is golden and crispy on both sides.
  4. Transfer to a serving plate and keep warm until ready to serve.
  5. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, if needed, and preheat just until smoking. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining dove breasts.
  6. Serve immediately, using about six dove breasts per serving.
Creamed Bobwhite Quail “Old School” Over Carolina Gold Rice

Yield: 6 servings

  • 12 (6-OUNCE) SEMI-BONELESS QUAIL
  • 1 TBS PLUS 1 TSP KOSHER SALT
  • 2 TSP FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
  • 1 TBS CHOPPED FRESH THYME
  • ¼ CUP VEGETABLE OIL
  • ½ CUP (1 STICK) UNSALTED BUTTER
  • 1 LARGE LEEK, HALVED AND THINLY SLICED CROSSWISE (ABOUT 2 CUPS)
  • 1 LB FRESH CREMINI MUSHROOMS, SLICED
  • 2 CUPS CHICKEN STOCK
  • 1½ CUPS HEAVY CREAM
  • 2 TBS CHOPPED FRESH PARSLEY
  • 6 CUPS COOKED CAROLINA GOLD RICE
  1. Rinse the quail under cold, running water and pat dry. Split the quail in half lengthwise and remove the backbones. Season the quail on both sides with the salt, pepper, and half of the thyme.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, deep, cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the quail in batches to the hot oil and cook until well browned on both sides – 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the browned quail to a platter and set aside.
  3. Discard oil from the skillet. Add the butter to the same skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add the remaining thyme and the leek to the butter and cook until softened – about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and return the browned quail to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and cook for 25 minutes.
  5. Uncover the quail and cook an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  6. Remove the creamed quail from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Place 1 cup of hot, cooked rice on each of six dinner plates. Spoon four quail halves and some of the sauce over each portion of rice and serve immediately.

Get the Cookbook

Get more than 200 recipes for what’s fresh in every season by picking up a copy of Chris and Idie Hastings’ cookbook. With the recipes, you’ll find profiles of more than a dozen of the restaurant’s purveyors and see a glimpse of the authors’ home and work life.

Pick up a copy ($40) by clicking here.

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