Gator Chow…

I have eaten frog legs, all kinds of fish and seafood and yes…Alligator. If you have tried it you will know how tasty it is. Some restaurants serve fried Gator Bites, which are great,  but when I found Alligator meat unbreaded and ready to cook with; I just had to get some.
I found some recipes for Alligator Stew, but I wanted to do something different. So I made Alligator Chowder. It’s a lot like Clam Chowder but the tender pieces of gator meat are mild and add a unique flavor. Some people say it tastes like chicken…I disagree.
Alligator Chowder
By The Gourmet Farm Girl
2 pounds Alligator meat
(cut into small chunks)
4 thick slices of smoked bacon
1 Tablespoon butter
2 large potatoes
2 stalks celery with leaves
2 carrots
1 small onion
2 quarts chicken stock
2 Bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 15.25 ounce can corn (or three ears)
1 cup half and half
4 Tablespoons corn starch
Cold water
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Cut bacon into pieces and brown in a large stock pot over medium heat; remove cooked bacon and drain on a paper towel; set aside. Remove all but 2-3 tablespoon of the bacon fat; add the butter and melt; add the chopped celery, carrots and onions.. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. 
Add the broth, all seasonings and the Alligator meat. Reduce heat to a simmer; tilt the lid and allow to cook for 45-50 minutes till the meat is tender; stir occasionally. Stir in the half-n-half and corn and cook for 2-3 minutes till all is hot. Mix the cornstarch with enough cold water to make 1/4 cup; pour into the soup and stir till thick.    
Makes 8 servings