Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recipe: Low Country Boil

Lately I have gotten a few calls and emails about how I make a Low Country Boil.
It is a really simple dish in which one boils potatoes, corn, sausage, and shrimp in a large pot over strong heat. Simple and delicious. Coming from the Savannah area, everyone has their own take on this region defining dish- everyone and has their favorite method. One of the biggest problems is that if you don't boil the potatoes just right, they will crumble in a soggy mess. You also have to be careful not to overcook the shrimp, which can turn tough and rubbery. I cook everything in one great big pot adding ingredients based on the times below. With this precise timing you don't have to worry about under or overcooking anything. The best pot is a large turkey fryer pot (usually a 30 quart tall pot, though I now use a 32 quart shorter and more wide pot) with a strainer and a propane heat source. Though it can be done on the stove top my kitchen wont allow a big enough pot on the stove (plus its heresy to do this indoors!).
Low Country Boil is a great main course when you need to feed a large number of people in a very relaxed atmosphere. It is perfect during the fall tailgating or hosting friends and neighbors for a backyard dinner. Typically, I dump the whole mess on a table lined with newspaper. Serve with homemade cocktail sauce and plenty of napkins.
Recipe adapted from Pual Deen. For six hungry guest and you can multiply easily for larger parties.

Fill 30 quart pot about 2/3 up with WATER. Add OLD BAY SEASONING to taste (usually about 1/2 cup). Bring water to boil then add 10 NEW RED POTATOES and SAUSAGE to pot. Try to find potatoes that are the same size so they cook evenly. I quickly rinse them off in the sink before hand. The sausage should be a mix of regular spicy Italian style sausage cut into 3-4" pieces (please none of those pencil thin suasage links- they should be confined to the breakfast table). For six people I use a total of 24" of sausage. Boil for 20 minutes. Then add 6 ears of CORN, cleaned and broken in half. Boil for another 10 minutes. Lastly add 3 lbs. of SHRIMP and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Once the shrimp are a rich pink-red color and float to the top, you are done. Strain the water out and allow your food to rest on the table long enough to sprinkle some more OLD BAY on top.

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