Located in the heart of Florida’s Forgotten Coast, the Williamson Outfitters’ Eastpoint Lodge is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It's a place where people gather not only for thrilling hunting & fishing adventures but also to savor the rich culinary traditions of the region. Among these traditions, there's a particularly special dish that holds a profound significance for the lodge and its guests – Gator Gumbo, a recipe passed down by the late Cliff Crouch.
Remembering Cliff, the “Coastal Cajun”
Cliff Crouch was not only a dedicated law enforcement officer but also an avid outdoorsman and a passionate cook. He was known for his love of the wild and his dedication to preserving and perfecting Cajun dishes. His legacy lives on not only in the memories of those who knew him but also in his cherished recipe for Gator Gumbo.
The Gator Gumbo Recipe
Cliff's Gator Gumbo is a delightful blend of fresh Florida ingredients with Louisiana flavor. This savory dish is a tribute to the alligator, a revered species in the region. Here's how you can make it:
- 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 1 Green Bell Pepper
- 3 Sticks of Celery
- 2 lbs Smoked Link Sausage
- 2 lbs Fresh Caught Gator Tail
- 2 32oz Containers of Chicken Broth
- 2 Cups Frozen Sliced Okra
- 2 Jalapeños
- 1 Tablespoon of Cajun or Creole Seasoning
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 4 cups white rice
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- First dice all vegetables, sausage, and gator meat. Put them in the fridge.
- Make roux by adding flour and oil in large pot on medium heat. You need to stir regularly for roughly an hour till it starts to look like melted milk chocolate.
- Add the vegetables (except the frozen okra) in and cook for another 10 minutes.
- While the vegetable are cooking, sear your sausage and gator meat in a separate pan.
- Next dump the sausage and gator in with the roux and vegetables.
- Add your Cajun/Creole seasoning, salt, garlic, bay leaves, frozen okra, and chicken broth.
- Bring to boil then let simmer for two hours on low heat.
- Make white rice in separate pot: add 4 cups rice with 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons coconut oil, bring to a boil then turn down to low and cover for 20 minutes.
Serving Cliff’s Gator Gumbo
When the Gator Gumbo is ready, ladle it into bowls over white rice. Serve with hot sauce. The dish embodies the essence of Florida’s Forgotten Coast, a place where nature, community, and culinary traditions come together.
Cliff Crouch’s legacy lives on through the warm bowls of Gator Gumbo served at Williamson Outfitters lodge. As you savor this delicious dish, you’re not only indulging in the flavors of Eastpoint but also paying homage to a dedicated officer and nature enthusiast who left behind a recipe that captures the spirit of this enchanting region.