Low Country Shrimp Boil

So, this recipe is really called “Low Country Boil” in my house, I just threw the Shrimp in there to get your attention. The first time I had this ultimate Southern summer dish was with my husband’s extended family down in South Carolina. (That was the time I had my first red-eye gravy, and my first Krispy Kreme doughnut, and not the first time I ever had grits but definitely the first time I had THAT MANY grits). One of the many, many things I love about my Atlanta-born husband is that I have been indoctrinated into Southern cooking, Southern music and Southern figures of speech. And this easy, spicy, relaxed Southern dish is one of my sentimental favorites.

For all my fellow Northerners, here is a quick introduction to the history of this dish — it is well known around the South (also by the name Frogmore Stew), but the fish varies from region to region. In the Louisiana area the fish used is crawfish (yum, yum), but in the Carolinas and Georgia we are talking shrimp, nice big ones with the shell on. For those of you who want the COMPLETE history, here is a link to everything you ever wanted to know about Low Country Boil but were afraid to ask:

Low Country Boil

All you really need to know, though, is that this is a dream come true of a casual outdoor meal that gets cooked up in one large pot, and in an ideal world is dumped out onto butcher paper (or in my house, flattened-out brown paper grocery bags) that have been laid out on your picnic or patio table in the back yard. No plates. No forks. No knives. Lots of napkins (as a matter of fact, I wet down washclothes and put them on the table for easy wipe-downs as we go along). HOWEVER, we are now on the 949th day of rain here in New Jersey, so we did have to put this particular batch on a platter to serve it up inside. Still no utensils, still lots of napkins, still a lot of fun.

And as an extra added enhancement to this meal, the Southern husband provided an all-Southern-music playlist for us to eat along to. So, before I give you the recipe, here is your playlist,

with thanks to my Atlanta honey – click on these!

Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynrd

Dixie Chicken, Little Feat

Southern Accents, Tom Petty

I Like It, I Love It, Tim McGraw

Oh, Atlanta, Alison Krauss

Georgia On My Mind

Ok then, ready for some good ol’ low country boil? Here goes:

Low Country Shrimp Boil

Low Country Shrimp Boil

Ingredients

2 stalks of celery, cut in half
1 jalapeno pepper, cut in half lengthwise
1 medium onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons seafood seasoning (in the spice aisle, I like Chesapeake Bay)
1 pound baby red potatoes
2 ears corn, husked and cut into quarters
1 pound large shrimp, shells on
1 pound smoked andouille sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon Tabasco

Directions

1. In large pot, combine chile, celery, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning and 10 cups water, bring to a boil.
2. Add potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes until almost tender
3. Add corn and sausage and cook 5 minutes more.
4, Remove pot from heat and add shrimp. Let stand until shrimp are cooked through, about 90 seconds.
5. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid, drain shrimp mixture and return to pot.
6. Add butter, 1 tablespoon seasoning, hot sauce and reserved cooking liquid and toss.
7. Serve on butcher paper with lots of napkins and a rocking Southern soundtrack playing in the background.
8. Consider Krispy Kremes for dessert.

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