Friday, April 22, 2011

Low Country Boil: Noun or Verb?

Before I married Brandon, I spent a few years living in Mt. Pleasant, SC...right outside Charleston. There are too many great things that I can say about Low Country living to list here, but one of my favorites was the cuisine. Oh, food...glorious food. There are some wonderful restaurants in the Upstate, but every time we make it back to the Low Country for a vacay, I'm almost as excited about what we will eat as to who we will see or what we will do (or not do as we just relax on the beach, hallelujah!)
 The other day the weather was beautiful, the kids were playing in the yard, and we had some friends coming over for dinner. I thought to myself, "Self, how can you make something easy and delicious to impress your friends and fill your bellies for not a big wad of cash?" And then I answered, "Self, you need to do a Low Country Boil!"

What's a Low Country Boil, you ask? 
There are two different ways to answer that question.

1) Low Country Boil (n): a region-specific dish that starts with a stock made from vegetables and perhaps shrimp shells, invariably with heaps of the chef’s favorite seafood season blend (like Old Bay). Subject to the usual variations, the gist of the boil will include crabs, shrimp or both, some kind of sausage, a good deal of corn, and aromatic vegetables, herbs and spices. 

2) Low Country Boil (v):  a fun way to feed a crowd in a no-fuss manner! This dish is great for an outdoor party where you can line a picnic table with newspapers, throw the boil on the table, and tell everyone to dig in!

I know your mouth is watering right now cause mine is, too. So to help you alleviate that ailment, here is the recipe. It's for 4 people, but making a bigger batch is super easy.
  • 1.5 lbs new potatoes
  • 1 16 oz. package turkey sausage (andouille or kielbasa works too)
  • 3 ears fresh corn, husked removed and cut into smaller, hand-held portions
  • 2 lbs medium to large shrimp, deveined and peeled
  • A buncha (that's a technical term) Old Bay Seasoning or crab boil seasoning
  • 4 lemons, quartered
  • Melted Butter, Texas Pete, more Old Bay, and crusty bread (for sopping up the good stuff).
Bring the potatoes, sausage, corn, lemons, and Old Bay Crab Boil packet to a boil and keep on a rolling boil for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes and corn are tender (longer the larger the batch). Bring the boil to a very low simmer and add the shrimp and cook for the last 5 minutes or until they are pink. Once the shrimp are pink, remove from heat and drain the water.

I usually drain most of the water (saving a bowlful for sopping), line a table with newspapers, throw the pot out on the table and tell everyone to dig in while I go back for a roll of paper towels and the sweet tea pitcher.  So good, so easy, and relatively cheap when using in season ingredients.

So, noun or verb? It doesn't matter. I like to mix the two definitions for my own personal dinner planning with friends! I may not live in the Low Country anymore, but I sure like to cook like I do!

What about you? Are you a big fan of the Low Country Boil? Or maybe you've never even tried it (you're missing out if you fit in that category). Would you consider using it for a big group gathering, or would you rather save it for an smaller, more casual family setting? What other Low Country cuisine dishes can you not go without?

1 comment:

Pepper Berry said...

mmmm...i wanna do one of those. Looks so yummy! I've never had one, but maybe for John's birthday or something. Can't wait to try it! Love you SEEESSTER!