Sometimes I’m reminded of why I love my wife as much as I do. The other day I was at work when I got a text message from Pretty Bird. ’They have Alligator and Frog Legs at the grocery store, do you want any?’ Hell yes, I want some! To pass up such an opportunity for fun and frivolity in the kitchen would be plain tom-foolery. So, after much ado, here’s what we came up with–a rich, Creole-inspired stew. By the way, frog legs taste like meaty catfish. And alligator, well, tastes like chicken.
Serves 20. That’s right, 20. We made this for a party. Yes, we made our friends eat frog legs. And then they voluntarily ate seconds.
For starters, I decided to roast off the Frog Legs. We didn’t have any stock at the time and I wanted a thick, savory, delicious broth. So I decided I would make the stock at the same time as we made the soup. Preheat the oven to 450.
To roast off the frog legs you will need:
2 Large Onions, large dice
4 Carrots, large dice
5 Cloves Garlic, smashed
3 Dried Chilis (if small, 2 if medium, 1 if large)
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 large pieces of Dried Tomato (optional)
2 Bay Leaves
9 Pairs Frog Legs (or 18 Frog Legs if they come already separated)
Salt and Pepper
Toss the veggies, tomatoes, cinnamon and bay leaves in light oil and spread out across the bottom of a roasting pan.
If needed, separate the pairs into individual frog legs. It’s pretty much just cut them in half. Arrange the legs on top of the vegetables and season with Salt, Pepper and Cajun Seasoning to your heart’s content. I don’t give amounts here because I don’t know how salty/spicy you like your food. Once done, my pan looked like this:
Roast these babies until they are a dark, golden brown. Remove the frog legs and set aside. Deglaze the pan. I just used water here. You could also use either red or white wine, depending on whether you had any sitting around. Never open a bottle of wine for deglazing unless it was a gift from someone you don’t like very much and it tastes terrible. In which case, maybe you shouldn’t use it then, either. You could also use a little cheap whiskey. If you don’t have any dried tomatoes, throw in 1-2T of tomato paste at this step. At any rate, get all that roasty goodness off the bottom of the pan and into the liquid. Once you have it all nice and deglazed, take everything and put it into a blender and puree the hell out of it until it’s nice and smooth and thick. You might need to add a little more water to get it to puree right, that’s fine just keep it as thick as possible. Depending on the quality of your blender you may also need to run the blended product through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any chunks of cinnamon stick.
While you’re waiting for the legs to roast, get the rest of the stew started. You will need:
2 Onions, medium dice
4 Carrots, medium dice
2 T. Roasted Garlic
2 Sweet Potatoes, medium dice
1 16 oz. bag Frozen Corn
1 4 oz. jar Pickled Jalapenos, plus half the juice
1 8 oz. bag Okra
1/4 cup Red Chili Paste (I get mine homemade from a Louisianan neighbor)
2 Bay Leaves
2 pounds of Gator Meat, medium dice
1 pound Andouille Sausage, sliced into coins
Get a large saute pan smoking hot. Add 2 T oil and immediately toss in your meat. Brown both sides as quickly as possible, then add the onions and carrots. Give the mix a couple of good stirs until the veggies just start to cook and then transfer the whole mess into a large crock pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and enough water to barely cover the whole mess. Bring it to a boil and then turn the pot down for the nice, long simmer. Stirring whenever you feel like it.
Meanwhile, as soon as you can touch it, pull the frog meat off the bones and throw it into the stew. Then add in your thick, roasty puree and stir until smooth. The longer you let this dish simmer, the better it gets. We cooked it for a good 4-5 hours, but it was better the next day. This is the sort of dish that you can totally get everything together in the crock pot, put it in your fridge, and put it on heat when you get up in the morning. By the time you get home from work, your whole house will smell amazing!