Saturday, June 07, 2008

Low Country Boil

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Whether you call it Low Country Boil, Frogmore Stew or Beaufort Stew, the basic ingredients of this tasty, crowd pleasing dish are shrimp, corn, potatoes, sausage and a seasoning pack of Crab boil or Old Bay Seasoning. Popular as a casual dinner by the water or as a one-pot dish at a fancy gathering, Low Country Boil is best known in the region of the low country which extends from Beaufort, South Carolina south to Savannah, Georgia. The seafood is abundant and fresh vegetables are sold at farm stands in most all of the small towns as well as at local farmers' markets. Shrimp, corn and potatoes are all available around the same time of the year here in the low country. On my way out of Savannah after Memorial Day weekend, I stopped by Wilmington Island Seafood Company to buy fresh shrimp for this dish and some extra to freeze.

In Savannah, we typically serve this dish for couples wedding showers, retirement parties and also for spur of the moment Saturday night dinners. For a crowd, Low Country Boil is usually cooked outside in a big pot on a propane burner. A turkey fryer with a strainer insert works great. I f cooking outside is not convenient, you can also cook this dish in a large pot on the stove, but be sure and turn on your exhaust fan as the seasoning can sometimes be quite pungent. To make the shrimp easier to peel after cooking, a little secret that I have learned from one my friends in Savannah who prepares all of our low country boils for parties, is to add some a tablespoon or so white vinegar to the boiling water.

Low Country Boil

1 bag Zatarains Shrimp and Crab Boil or 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
1 lemon, halved
12 whole new red potatoes
6 ears corn, halved
6 smoked sausage links, sliced into 1-inch pieces, I use andouille sausage as I love the spicy flavors
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 pounds unpeeled fresh shrimp

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add boil bag or seasoning and lemon halves. There should be enough water to cover all ingredients. Add potatoes, cook 10 minutes, add corn, cook 10 minutes, then sausage, cook 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, then the shrimp. Turn heat off and let sit for 15 minutes. Serves six.

Tradition suggests you dump the low country boil onto a large table covered with newspaper and dig in! Serve with coleslaw and Savannah red rice.

Photo of Billboard courtesy of Susan VanDette


scotbrit said...

I can't wait for my next meal of Beaufort Stew aka Low Country Boil! Fantastic photos (both yours & Susan's)

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

Here in South Africa we call this a seafood potjie and a favorite during the summer months when we all are at the beach.
Lovely post.

Lynnylu said...

Scotbrit, thanks, I've seen some great looking Beaufort Stews at your house.

Nina-amazing that so many dishes have similar ingredients, but different names and perhaps different spices and herbs, etc., but are basically the same dish. I'll have to try the seafood potjie soon. Thanks.

PW said...

It would be nice if the dish could keep it's orignal name "Frogmore Stew". It seems everyone wants to change the name. The reason it resembles the African dish is because it was originated by slaves who resided in Frogmore SC. Slave owners didn't provide much in a way of food for their slaves so the ate what they could(shrimp,crabs corn,potatoes)which were abundent in the waters here. Later when they were given meat that they could eat it was added. Later in years sausage was added.

Lynnylu said...

PW-sorry so late in replying. I agree the low country boil should keep it's original name, Frogmore Stew. Thanks for the history.

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