Let us be the first to recommend this recipe on how to cook alligator picadillo.
Picadillo is traditionally known as a Latin American dish that is also very popular in Cuba, the Philippines, and even the Dominican Republic.
The main ingredient of the dish is normally some sort of meat that is either ground, cubed, or steaked. Depending on the region where the dish is made, picadillo is served inside vegetables such as green peppers, combined with rice, and somtimes served inside tacos or burritos.
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For my twist on this recipe, I decided to use alligator meat. I was given this meat a few months ago and it has been sitting in my freezer ever since with no clear plans on how to cook it. Thankfully, I stumbled upon this idea at Mexican restaurant near our home a few weeks ago and this version of alligator picadillo came to life.
When this recipe gets going, it really starts to smell like something authentic that you would encounter on an island. The cumin and cinnamon, along with the garlic, will fill your house with an amazing aroma. This combination of smells will make you ready to eat long before the recipe is finished.
- 2lbs of cubed alligator meat
- olive oil
- 1 large chopped red onion
- About 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 1/2 of a small can of tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken stock
- Two cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 small jar of drained sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 handful of chopped oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 bay leaves
To get started, heat the olive oil in a large pan until it is smoking. Add in the onions and bay leaves and sauté until the onions are soft.
Next, add in the minced garlic and sauté until it releases its aroma. Any more than that and the heat will start to erode the garlic flavor before it can season the dish.
Once the garlic is beginning to become pungent, add in the half can of tomato paste along with the cubed alligator meat. Sauté the alligator for several minutes until it starts to become tender and even break down a little bit under pressure from a fork or spoon.
Next, combine all the remaining ingredients and simmer on medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. At this point the picadillo is going to have a lot of excess liquid in the pan. The extended simmering time will evaporate a lot of the moisture creating a thicker, more robust taste as well as infusing the alligator with flavor and making it more tender.
Finally, create your taco. In our house, it consisted of rice and gator picadillo topped off with a delicious cream sauce that we use in other taco recipes like this one.
Overall this is a pretty easy recipe that comes together very quickly once it gets rolling. Don’t let the alligator throw you off either. Chicken, steak, venison, or even fish can be substituted for equal results. Enjoy!