Alligator hunting is an incredibly fun and unique way to spend a night on the water. A successful hunt can yield unbelievable amounts of surprisingly versatile meat. From working late nights in Hawaii to looking for a post-bar hopping meal in Korea, curries of all types have long been a favorite of mine. There are near infinite possibilities for ingredients and regional styles. This dish combines gator and curry into something that can bite long after you are out of the swamp.
This simple curry is fairly adaptable. Adjusting the spice level is easy by adding spices after you are done reducing. Take it off the stove sooner and you have a lighter, runnier sauce. Reduce it long enough and it takes the color and consistency of Japanese curry but with a little more spice.
Time To Make:
1 hour up to 2 depending on how long you let it stew/reduce
Cast iron skillet
1 pound of alligator cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp coconut oil
3.5 tbsp curry powder
1.5 cups yellow onion, 1-2 inch slices (about half a large onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp red curry paste
1 tsp ground coriander
1.5 cups coconut milk
1 cup blonde stock (chicken, game bird, etc.)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1. Toss alligator pieces in the salt, pepper, and ½ tablespoon curry powder.
2. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat until melted.
3. Sear the alligator pieces without cooking all the way through.
4. Remove the meat and saute the onion in the same skillet. After about 2 to 3 minutes, add the garlic.
5. Add the rest of the curry powder, curry paste, and coriander. Coat the onions and stir until toasted and aromatic.
6. Add the coconut milk and stock and stir until smooth. Adjust heat to a simmer for 7-10 minutes.
7. Add the alligator back in. Stir in the brown sugar and lemon juice. You may also add chopped cilantro if you so desire. Loosely cover with aluminum foil.
8. Simmer until meat is cooked thoroughly and sauce is sufficiently reduced. Adjust seasonings to taste.
9. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
A note on sourcing the cut or foraged ingredients:
Most people only think about the tail of an alligator when there are many other edible cuts. The tail itself is composed of four long muscles (two on top, two on bottom). Inside of the bottom cuts are two additional long muscles commonly known as the jelly rolls. These are excellent. The backstraps may also be removed in the same manner as other large game. The legs are edible as are the jowls. These pieces up front on either side of the head can be quite large on bigger gators.
Alternate Cuts That Would Work:
Just about any of the cuts mentioned above will work. Just remember to trim all of the fat and cook thoroughly. This will work with most game meats as well.