If you haven’t had alligator, you’ve probably heard that it “tastes like chicken.” If you have, you’ve probably had it in fried nuggets. While a good piece of fried alligator is tasty, this is a versatile meat and can be used in many different preparations.
Look for tail meat for this recipe. It’s widely available online or, if you’re lucky, from a local butcher. This is adapted from a recipe from Louisiana chef John Folse’s book After the Hunt: Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Wild Game & Game Fish Cookery(Chef John Folse and Co. 2007). If you can’t make your own fish stock, you can substitute water.
Makes 6 servings
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 pounds alligator meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups diced onion
2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, seed removed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 quarts fish or shellfish stock
2 cups button mushrooms
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup sliced green onions
Steamed white rice
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until a dark brown roux is achieved.
Add alligator and saute 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic, and saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until vegetables are wilted. Stir in jalapenos and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes with juice, stock, mushrooms, bay leaves, thyme and basil. Blend well, then season lightly with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 1 hour, or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Additional water or stock may be added during cooking to retain stewlike consistency.
Add parsley and green onion, and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot over steamed white rice.