Heat a dutch oven or large high sided skillet on high. To make the roux, add butter and flour to the pan. Stir this together quickly to form a paste and remove any lumps. Use a whisk or a wooden spatula with a straight bottom edge, making sure to get in the edges of the pan.
Once that is done, turn heat down to medium and continue to stir and scrap every bit of the roux, to prevent it from burning. It will transform from a paste to a liquid. *If it starts to burn or steam, turn heat down some more. If you burn it, and you’ll know it, and you’ll have to start over with a clean pan.
The roux will darken as it continues to cook. Once it has reached a dark golden color (*see picture), add all the chopped vegetables and keep stirring for a few more minutes. All of that can take quite a while (20 minutes or more), so don’t get discouraged or impatient.
Turn heat back up to high, whisk in the crab stock and keep stirring. Your arm can rest soon. The sauce will come to a boil and start to thicken. Meanwhile, add the pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves and a large pinch of salt and some black pepper. Sauce should thicken enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon.
Once that happens, add alligator meat, and chopped scallions, reduce the heat and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes.
Add parsley and lemon juice, stir, cook for a minute or two, taste and adjust again if needed.
To serve, place about 1 cup of cooked rice in each bowl, pour a ladle or so over the rice, top with a big dollop of crab meat and serve immediately. Crab meat can be served room temp or slightly heated for 20-30 seconds in the microwave. If you prefer, you can add the crab meat directly to the étouffée at the very last minute, but the presentation is nicer when you can see it on top.