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Everglades’ Gator Chowder

Written By Scott Joseph On November 30, 2009

Here’s a recipe for those of you who find a little extra gator meat on your hands. If you don’t have any lying around — maybe underneath the car (always look) — you should be able to find gator meat at Lombardi’s Market in Winter Park.

This soup from the upscale Everglades restaurant at the Omni Rosen follows the theme with the ‘Glades most famous resident as its main ingredient.

1 1/4 pounds gator meat, finely chopped
1/2 pound bacon, finely chopped
1 1/4 ounce chopped garlic Mirepoix (1/4 pound each, medium diced onions, carrots and celery)
1/4 pound medium diced green peppers
1 pound washed and diced potatoes (skin on)
6 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1-46 ounce can clam juice
1 gallon water (or fish stock)
1/2 pound butter
1 1/4 pound flour
1 bay leaf
3 ounces tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot over medium heat, render the bacon until crisp. Add mirepoix, garlic and green peppers. Cook until tender. Add butter and melt. Whisk in flour to make a roux. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure all bacon fat and butter is absorbed by the flour (adjust flour if necessary). Add clam juice, water and diced tomatoes. Simmer and add potatoes, gator meat and bay leaf. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Yields 5 quarts.

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