When we visited friends in Alabama, they told us we’d be having a boil for dinner. We had no clue what deliciousness and delight we were in for. When we arrived, I noticed that there was a startling lack of preparation for dinner considering that there were so many hungry folks descending upon the dining room. I soon learned that there was no cause for alarm because a boil requires minimal work to prepare. We knew we had to try it for ourselves, but we were still a little concerned that there might be some hidden challenges.
By the time we made our way up to Beaufort, SC, we were ready to try our hand at making our own. After some coaching by Tony at CJ Seafood Express, we had a plan (along with some fresh shrimp and a few crab legs just for fun). We also got a coaching on terminology from a few of the locals. While some refer to this dish as a Lowcountry Boil, it is also commonly known as Frogmore Stew.
The first time we had a boil, the shrimp was peeled but the tails were on. When we made it here, we peeled the shrimp after cooking. Finger food is always fun, and it slowed us down a bit. Perfect for conversation.
The prep was simple, and the results amazing. Most importantly for us, we could make it outside.
Try this at home.
You will need:
A pot of water, about 1/3 full
Boil seasoning (this will work. It is pretty common in the south, now that we know what to look for).
Small red potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
Head of garlic, broken into cloves
Andouille sausage, sliced
Corn on the cob, broken into smallish pieces
Also recommended: a group of friends to share the experience with.
Put the water into the pot and add seasoning. Tony recommended putting in a little bit at a time, stirring, and stopping when the water tasted right. You’ll know. Not too watery, not too strong.
When the water is near boiling, add potatoes. We used a couple pounds I think. Just kind of counted out how many we wanted and that is what we used.
Same for the sausage. We used andouille, sliced. You want this in the water so it is flavoring the boil. We left the lid on during this process.
Boil the water until the potatoes are nearly done. When you guess that the potatoes are about 5 minutes away from perfection, add the corn on the cob.
Continue cooking for about 3 minutes, then dump in the shrimp (and, if you have it, crab).
Put the lid back on the pot and turn off the heat. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt some butter.
When the boil is ready, either drain it into a colander and pour out on to a cookie sheet to serve or just scoop out what you want from the broth.
Use the melted butter to pour over your food or use it for dipping.
Peel some shrimp, hang out with friends, and enjoy this wonderful southern tradition.
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