Alligators can be legally hunted from the last week of August to the end of October in Louisiana, but can also be farm-raised and purchased whole or in parts throughout the year. Here, tiny nuggets of alligator tenderloin become tender and juicy in this cozy recipe adapted from “After the Hunt: Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Wild Game and Game Fish Cookery,” a cookbook by the chef John Folse. If you can’t find alligator, other ground meat, such as lean pork, chicken or turkey also work. Serve this chili over spaghetti if you want to mimic a hunting camp meal or eat it with cornbread, as Mr. Folse suggests.
- Serves: 6 persons
- ½cup vegetable oil
- 3pounds alligator tenderloin (see Tip), fat trimmed, meat cut into very small chunks, or ground meat, such as lean pork, chicken or turkey
- Coarse kosher salt and black pepper
- ½teaspoon granulated garlic, plus more to taste
- 1large white onion, diced
- 3celery stalks, diced
- 1bell pepper, diced
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- 1jalapeño, diced
- 1(15- to 16-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 3(8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1cup chicken stock
- 1tablespoon chili powder
- 1teaspoon ground cumin
- Spaghetti or cornbread, for serving (optional)
Step 1In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season the meat with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the granulated garlic. Once the oil shimmers, add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices have rendered and the meat has browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 2Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, minced garlic and jalapeño. Cook, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
Step 3Add the pinto beans, tomato sauce, chicken stock, chili powder and cumin. Stir to combine. Bring the chili to a low boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Step 4When the meat is tender, season to taste with more salt, pepper and granulated garlic, if desired. Serve hot in bowls, with spaghetti or cornbread if you’d like.