March 28, 2011

Cajun Alligator or Chicken Croquettes

Never go skinny dippin' after dark...

Now first of all, we don't get alligator meat too often. I suppose it would be rare in fact to have any as hunting alligators along the Delta has a short open season. I don't even know if we're in season or not. I have never been out all night on a hunt for gators so I really don't know when it occurs but I think it's in the fall. In case you're wondering, I have no desire to test the water, to go near gator play grounds during the night for that matter. Some do and I suspect some don't live to tell about it. And for those who do go hunting, maybe you can tell me if it's legal to keep the meat. I know of some neighbors who go out all night, coming back each morning with some real big stories to tell, but no gators. Occasionally I come across imported meat from Louisiana or Florida and heck, I've heard alligator meat is now on several fancy menus around the US so I thought it only fittin' to serve it up to you.

This recipe is an adaption to one going back a long way folks, back to 1903 from a cookbook entitled, La Cuisine Créole À L'Usage Des Petits Ménages by Célestine Eustis or better known as Cooking In Old Créole Days, the classic expositions in Creole Cuisines. Printed bilingual in French and English and with some fine illustrations.  

However you obtain your alligator meat, or chicken for some, be sure to simmer it slowly in seasoned water on very low temperature until tender. Use only the choicest meat, as told in recipes, and reduce the stock to make it extra rich for added flavor.
Enjoy! 

Cajun Alligator Croquettes
or Chicken if ‘fin you’re not from the deep south

2 cups chopped cooked alligator (or chicken meat)
12 large oysters, reserve the liquor (or 8 oz jarred mushrooms, reserve liquid)
2 tablespoons diced green onion
2 tablespoons diced red onion
2 tablespoons diced celery
1 garlic clove, minced
Good pinch of fresh thyme and parsley, minced
1 or2 tablespoons Cajun seasonings
Yolks of 2 eggs
1/2 cup (4 oz) milk
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup (4 oz) strong chicken stock
1/4 cup (2 oz) heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs mixed with a little cream
plain flour
Freshly toasted breadcrumbs

Chopped the alligator meat with the drained oysters (or chicken and mushrooms) to a fine consistency. Add the vegetables, seasonings and herbs and put aside.

Beat the egg yolks with the milk and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add the butter over medium heat and when melted stir in the flour until absorbed. Slowly stir in the chicken stock, cream and the oyster liquor (or mushroom liquid) with stock if needed to make an additional 2 ounces. Stir to form a thick sauce and then stir in the alligator mixture (or chicken) along with the vegetables, seasonings and lemon juice. Remove from heat and fold in the yolk mixture. Stir to incorporate and return to heat stirring until heated thoroughly and very creamy. Remove from heat and pour into an oblong dish to cool. Place in refrigerator.

When mixture is completely cold, remove and using your fingers dusted heavily with flour, quickly gather a little of mixture (over a quarter cup) to form into a ball. Use enough flour to keep mass from becoming sticky and flatten between you palms to form a croquette. Dust with flour and quickly brush the tops with beaten egg mixture and sprinkle well with the breadcrumbs. Invert and repeat coating other side with breadcrumbs. Place on a tray and let these dry out for about an hour.

Fry these in hot lard or oil to a delicate brown color and drain.

Serve with your favorite sauce or try my Creole Tarter Sauce, Roasted Red Pepper Sauce or my choice for this one, Horseradish Sauce.

15 comments :

  1. I had the pleasure to eat gator tail fried once and loved it.. didn't taste like anything like I thought. I thought it tasted more like a cross between chicken and swordfish, tender and perfectly cooked not rubbery like I imagined.. this has my curiousity on what the taste is like.. I was sure that I wouldn't like it and loved it.. sounds delicious wish I could try some right now!

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  2. I've only had alligator once and that was a long time ago. It was deep fried like fish and served with the same accompaniments as a fish-fry. Sure was good! But these croquettes would be something else. I love this combination of ingredients. Great job, Drick!

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  3. I guess I will get my chance soon enough to try me some gator! Oy! I may just have to stick with chicken....or being chicken.

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  4. I have never tasted alligator before. I guess I will have to use this recipe with chicken instead.

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  5. I have had gator twice in my life and neither time did it look as appealing as your version. I would try it again...if YOU prepared it!

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  6. Oh Drick, your alligator croquettes are awesome. If those tuna cakes had half the ingredients yours do they may have had a chance!

    SH? Did you mean SL? I'm going through Fine Living for April already otherwise, I'd consider it. I used to get SL as a subscription but stopped when the magazine seemed to be geared towards high income folks. It looks like the pendulum has swung a bit back towards my level. :)

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  7. Yum! I am going to try this, LOVE alligator!!!

    Thanks again for the up tweet.

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  8. Oh wow, now this is something I never saw my dad cook up. I have never tried alligator meat, and as a vegetarian I guess I probably won't but what great flavors :)

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  9. My first experience with gator was from a southern boy and his wife who caught, killed, and cooked the gator. Boy was it ever delicious! If this tastes anything like that well then you hit the jack pot Drick!

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  10. I remember eating alligator meat when I was young. But now I would squirm if you serve it to me! When I went to visit a Botanical Garden the other day, I saw a little dragon like creature on the ground. I screamed and then felt embarrassed when people around me looked at me...haha. So you can imagine if you bring me hunting for these alligators. I will scream so loud I will frighten all of them away...LOL

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  11. I've had alligator many times, but never in the form of croquettes. These look absolutely delicious and the sauce sounds divine! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Tastes just like chicken...right?

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  13. I can get crocodile meat there. I guess they are the same?

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  14. I actually love alligator meat! Never thought of making croquettes out of them though =)

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  15. YUM!!! I'll bet those are good made with just about any kind of meat or seafood.

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