Low Country Boil

I’m bringing up this recipe today because it is one of my favorite summertime meals, and I want you all to have access to it be we run out of summer.  I make it for the DamFam, party of five – but I’ve also served it for dinner parties of up to 10 or so folks.  One of my college roomies served it to a crowd of 50 people at her rehearsal dinner.  I absolutely love Low Country Boil.  It’s the quintessential southern meal!

I’m not going to get to visit the beach this summer, but when I go out to the lake I sometimes pretend I’m back in South Carolina.  I put on my floppy beach hat, sip cold beer on the dock, and make this recipe (aka Frogmore Stew) for dinner.  It’s almost as good as being at the beach in person, minus the sand, crashing waves, salty air, beach music and my beloved boiled peanuts — sigh.  Okay, the lake is not like the beach at all.  But I can pretend.

You need to give this a try, and I’m fixin’ to tell you how to do it.

You’re going to need a pretty large, tall pot.  The biggest, deepest one you have.  I bought a huge one at Marshalls a few years ago – strictly for the purpose of Low Country Boil – for not that much ($30.00 maybe?), and I’ve gotten my money’s worth for sure.

This is the perfect dinner for entertaining, especially if you have guests who don’t mind getting a little messy.  For serving, line your picnic table with layers of newspaper, and set out plenty of cocktail sauce (the spicier the better, IMO) and lots of butter and kosher salt for the corn and potatoes.  Make sure you have plenty of napkins, cold beer and pitchers of sweet ice tea.

“Can I get you some sweet tea?  It’s the house wine of the south” – movie line?

Just a side note, I had roommates that drank sweet tea for breakfast, because apparently, it’s an appropriate beverage choice for any meal of the day.  Southern children are started on sweet tea shortly after they’re weaned from formula.  Personally, I prefer my iced tea unsweetened, but then again, I was raised in Minnesota.

I’m just a Carolina-girl wannabe.

SERVES:  6-8
SOURCE:  foodnetwork.com, recipe by Tyler Florence.

2 lemons, halved, plus more for serving
2 bay leaves
2 t. kosher salt
1/4 c. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 bunch thyme, tied together
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
2 serrano chiles, split in half lengthwise
1 head garlic, halved
1 1/2 lbs. baby new potatoes
3 ears corn, husked and cut into thirds
1+ lb. kielbasa sausage, cut into chunks
2 lbs. jumbo shrimp, the biggest you can find (I used jumbo easy-peel prawns)
Cocktail sauce and butter for serving

Fill a huge stockpot with about four quarts of water.  Keep in mind that when you add the solid ingredients, the water level will rise, so don’t fill the pot up more than halfway.  Squeeze the lemons into the water, tossing in the halves too.  Add the bay leaves, salt, Old Bay, thyme, onions, chiles and garlic; bring broth to a boil over medium high heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Taste it; don’t be afraid to make it strong so some of the flavor can penetrate and get absorbed by the potatoes and other ingredients.  Adjust seasoning with salt.

Add the potatoes to the pot and give them a head start; simmer for 15 minutes.  Next add the corn and sausage; cook another five minutes, making sure everything stays covered with the cooking liquid.  Add the shrimp, stir everything together.  Cover pot and shut off the heat.  Let shrimp steep for 15 minutes.  Drain pot and spread the shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes out on a newspaper covered table.  Serve with extra lemons, cocktail sauce, butter, and plenty of napkins.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | August 10th, 2011