Alligator Andouille Sauce Piquant

Perhaps the most recognizable creature in the Cajun Culinary Kingdom is the alligator. Every September alligator hunters wander the back roads and bayous of the Louisiana swamp in their attempt to capture this delicacy. Ingredients: 2 pounds diced alligator meat 5 cups water 2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning 1 pound andouille or smoked sausage, cubed 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper 1/2 cup chopped celery 1 tablespoon minced garlic One 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes, drained 3 tablespoons dark roux One 6-ounce can tomato paste 1/2 cup red wine 1 cup ketchup One 8-ounce can tomato sauce 1 tablespoon hot sauce 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 whole lemon, sliced 2 bay leaves One 8-ounce package sliced mushrooms 1/2 cup minced green onions 1/4 cup parsley minced 10 cups cooked rice Directions: 1. Place alligator meat and 1 tablespoon of Cajun Seasoning in large saucepot. Cover with water and bring to boil. Lower fire and simmer for 30 minutes. Reserve 2 1/4 cups liquid to use as alligator stock in recipe. 2. Heat oil in large saucepot. Add andouille and cook until browned. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and cook for 2 minutes over high heat. Add garlic and cook for additional minute. 3. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste, roux, red wine, ketchup and hot sauce. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes allowing water to evaporate. Be careful not to brown too much. 4. Add alligator stock, thyme, lemon and bay leaves and remaining 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning. Lower fire, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5. Add sliced mushrooms and alligator meat and simmer, covered, for an additional 10 minutes. 6. Add green onions and parsley and serve over steamed white rice. Yields 10 servings. Recipe Compliments of Chef Patrick Mould.