4 lb. alligator meat, preferably legs, not tail
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 c. flour
1 green pepper, chopped & cored
1 c. oil or fat
8-10 mushrooms, picked by somebody who knows how. You get poisoned,
don’t come cryin’ to us.
4 tbs. butter
1 c. water
2 onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tomato, chopped and mashed to a paste
3 green onions, chopped with some green
Cayenne (red) pepper
Chop up meat to size of dice. Put to soak in water with hot pepper and lemon juice. Mix flour and oil in hot kettle until flour is browned. Brown onions, then add mashed tomato and sugar and cook a few minutes, then add peppers celery, garlic, and mushrooms and stir up, then add water. Cook 1 hour at low heat, just bubbling. Add green onions and alligator, salt and red pepper to suit. Cook 30 minutes or until meat is tender. If alligator is old, this may take longer or never happen at all.
Comment: While it is normally a strict rule that all recipes here come from sources of the Civil War period, the sad fact is that all the books of the time were written for not just civilian use but middle-to-upper class civilians at that, since that was the group of sufficient literacy to benefit from books and sufficient income to be able to purchase them.
Food of the poorer classes, indigenous folk, backwoods and swamp dwellers, and similar, often more interesting, groups are not mentioned in such works. So every once in awhile when we get submissions from readers, said to be “old family recipes.” If they don’t call for anything that wouldn’t have been available in 19th century America, and most particularly if they are recipes that trace back several generations in a family, we say, eh, why not? All we can suggest is to use mushrooms from the supermarket if you’re not an expert in fungi identification, and to note that finding a source of supply of alligator meat (leg, not tail) is similarly up to you.
We got this one several years ago and the name of the sender has fallen off and disappeared in one of the numerous moves the Recipe section has made over time. If said sender would like to get in touch with us we will be happy to restore the credit that is due.