Cooking Louisiana  -  Alligator or Turtle Sauce Piquant

This is a recipe that has been handed down for at least 3 generations that I know of. A few modifications have been done over the years for convenience. Originally fresh tomatoes were used, but with the new canned stuff it is a lot easier. It also cuts the time to make it in half.

As far as I know my great-Grandfather Mr. Sam Russo originated this recipe. He was from Bayou Lafourche. He fished the turtles and gators in a little canal behind his house. My grandfather Mr. P. Russo taught me how to cook this at the age of 14. Now at 31 years old I feel I should share this recipe with everyone so they too can feel the love and greatness in this magical dish.

3 to 5 lbs Turtle or Alligator meat cut into small pieces
¼ cup oil
3 large onions chopped med. coarse
4 small cans tomato paste
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 large can whole tomatoes
1 bell pepper chopped med. Coarse
2 stalks celery chopped fine
2 Tbs. dill relish
2 Tbs. sweet relish
2 Tbs. chopped olives with pimentos
1 can mushrooms chopped fine
3 Tbs. chopped garlic
1 Tbs. dark roux
1 tsp salt
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Tony Chachere's
Cayenne pepper

Hot fresh cooked rice

Fresh French bread

In large pot add oil. Heat oil for 1 to 2 minutes on med-high fire. Add onions and ½ of the salt. Brown onions to a golden color. Add bell pepper and celery. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of water. Let vegetables cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste. Lower fire to medium heat. Cook tomato paste for approx. 15 minutes stirring every few minutes. Add garlic, whole tomatoes, and Ro-Tel tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add relishes, mushrooms, and olives. Cook 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add garlic and onion powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and Tony Chachere's to taste. occasionally. Add meat and enough water to cover thoroughly. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stir occasionally. Add roux. Cook additional 20 minutes and stir occasionally but carefully so you don't break up the meat
Taste and add seasoning before serving.

Serve over hot fresh rice with a piece of French bread on the side.

Submitted by B. Cormier (TACO) - Gray, LA.