tcrashfx Low Country Boil by tcrashfx


									                      tcrashfx’s Low Country Boil

                     A Study in Gourmet Perfection

           (As prepared for the 2010 SECLA Mid-term Gala)

It is sometimes called “Geechee Stew”, “Frogmore Stew” or “Dump Stew” in the
            Swamps of Middle Georgia and Coastal South Carolina


Once called Frogmore Stew, this one-pot wonder was originally created by a
National Guardsman when he needed to cook a meal for 100 soldiers. Richard
Gay, who learned the recipe from his family, had everyone remembering his
stew. The dish was later named Frogmore, where Richard was from, by the
guards who teased him about home. The postal service eliminated the name
Frogmore, which changed this popular dish to Low Country Boil.

                                                        This seafood dish is
                                                        a basic combination
                                                        of shrimp, sausage,
                                                        corn, and potatoes in
                                                        a uniquely spiced
                                                        Sauce. Great for
                                                        relaxing trips to the
                                                        beach, the mountains
                                                        or the back deck, it
                                                        is also easy to
                                                        create for a crowd.
                                                        Low Country Boil can
                                                        be served on clean,
                                                        unread newspaper for
                                                        easy clean up. Onion,
garlic, lime, beer, specific spices and butter are necessary additions to the
pot, and having a removable drain basket only makes cooking and serving
easier. The rule of thumb here is the bigger the crowd, the bigger the pot.
I believe I have perfected this recipe over the last 25 years after learning
the basic recipe in the Oconee River Swamp near Irwinton, Georgia, located
about 30 miles east of Macon, Georgia. My Ex-Father-In-Law, Avys Billue
(Who, I did not lose in the divorce, and who is a Great American!) taught me
how to create it and he is considered the Sensei Saucier.

                 This will serve about 20 - 25 people

 (Ingredients can be halved or doubled, or whatever, as needed)


     15 Pounds Shrimp (Flash frozen, uncooked, deveined, shells on)

     15 pounds small new potatoes (Red skin)

     8 packages Polish Kielbasa sausage (14 oz packages) cut in 3 or 4 inch

     36 frozen ears of frozen corn (The small cobs, {Nibblets} or cut 18
      full ones in half)

     One half tub of margarine or one pound, or more, of butter. The more
      the better! It has been medically proven (I forget the actual source),
      but the cholesterol lowering properties of the shrimp offsets the
      physical damage the butter could potentially do)

     2 six ounce tins of “Old Bay Seasoning”. A third tin is recommended,
      to be set aside for those who like their food really spicy to add to
      their plate later). Please disregard the suggested 2 tablespoons BS
      from the label

     2 cups garlic (raw or minced). More or less garlic to taste

     4-6 beers (These are strictly for the Sauce. For the Saucier, more,
      higher dollar beer is preferred whilst cooking and barely optional)

     2/3 limes (Or lemons) Halve, squeeze and place, whole, in Sauce

     1 or 2 large red onion (quartered)

In a large stew pot, prepare the Sauce as water begins to boil. Add
butter, garlic, beer, “Old Bay Seasoning”, lime, onion and let the Sauce
come to a boil. Let the Sauce “season” by boiling it for about 15 to 20
minutes (Or 3 hours, whatever) before first adding potatoes, all at once.

As the Sauce and potatoes come to a boil (After about 2 beers for the
Saucier) add frozen corn, all at once. As the corn and potatoes come to a
boil (After about 2 more beers for the Saucier), add the sausage, all at
once. When potatoes are nearly done, add the shrimp, all at once.

Let the Sauce return to a boil and CAREFULLY monitor the Sauce and mixture
as this is the utmost critical juncture. (Take the beer away from the
Saucier as he or she needs to really concentrate, at this point).

At the very second the shrimp turns pink, turn the heat source OFF and
cover. Allow the Sauce and ingredients to “stew”, “age” or “sit”, without
heat, for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve (See “Suggestions”) and allow the
Saucier to partake of yet another adult beverage as a reward…

         Suggestions Borne of 2.5 decades of Experience:

     The key is to have all ingredients arrive at perfect doneness at the
      exact same time. I studied the Feng Shui of Shrimpage for decades
      before I finally got it exactly right, in my strongly opinionated
      opinion. Remember, this is a journey to perfection!

     The second most important key is letting the Sauce and the cooked
      ingredients “sit”, “stew” or “age”, without the application of heat,
      after everything is done. This allows for all that healthy butter
      to rise to the top, bringing all the spices and flavors with it,
      according to Newton’s Fifth Law of Thermodynamics. As the
      ingredients are removed from the pot, the butter facilitates the
      assorted spices and flavors in transferring, or clinging, to the
      ingredients. Waste not, want not!

     The third most important key is adding all ingredients, at the
      precise designated time, in other words, “All at once”. Even a
      couple of minutes difference will result in some ingredients being
      undercooked and others being overcooked. Remember this is an art
      with a touch of science! Or visa-versa, dependent on the amount of
      beer consumed in the process

     I had a fourth most important thing, but I forgot it, but I think it
      had something to do with beer

     Start with less water than you think you need as you   can always add
      water, but throwing out good Sauce is a bad, bad and   inherently evil
      thing. Start with about 5 quarts for every 2 pounds    of potatoes and
      adjust accordingly. This can present an opportunity    to “boil down”
    the Sauce if you have realized you have too much water after adding
    the Sauce ingredients. Use caution here, as we do not want anything
    ‘over-cooked’. This also presents an added opportunity for the
    Saucier to drink several more beers. It’ll work out, trust me!

   If you are cooking for a church, either remind the Pastor, the
    Diaconate, and the Session that the alcohol in the beer is
    dissipated in the cooking process, remind them of John 2:1-11. Or
    just sneak the beer in. This particular recipe has been
    enthusiastically endorsed by the Irwinton Baptist Church of
    Irwinton, Georgia and the Fountain Grove AME Church, also of
    Irwinton, Georgia. Let’s just keep the beer thing between us for
    now, if you don’t mind!

   Set aside some Sauce for the leftover procedure before dumping. Skim
    the top layers so a lot of the spice and flavor infused butter is
    kept. These leftovers are a scientifically proven cure for a
    potentially resultant hangover

   Strive to not overcook the shrimp as it will become tough and
    rubbery. This is also why I don’t recommend using pre-cooked
    shrimp, pre-cooked crab or pre-cooked crawfish

   I have found the best shrimp to get is the flash frozen, deveined
    shrimp, still in the shell. The cooked-in-the-shell method allows
    the Sauce, flavors and spices to remain with the shrimp during the
    serving process.

   I have often found shrimp on sale for 2 for the price of 1, but the
    number of packages, at this rate, is sometimes limited by the
    vendor. Planning ahead will allow you to gather the needed shrimp
    over a course of several days and trips to the store.

   If one can get fresh, raw shrimp from the dock at Jekyll Island,
    Georgia, or in Beaufort, South Carolina, one must be especially
    careful while watching the shrimp arrive at doneness. It happens
    very quickly

   Otherwise, keep shrimp and corn frozen until you put it in the Sauce

   The easiest way to serve this Heavenly concoction is to lay out
    clean newspaper on a picnic table (Preferably outside the house, in
    case any Federal Law Enforcement Agents are reading this) and “Dump”
    the contents on the table and then everyone can help themselves.

   I’d suggest hosing down the picnic table and the area around the
    picnic table afterwards or you will have every cat, dog, coyote and
    possum in a 10 miles radius vectoring into your backyard based on
    their fine-tuned sense of smell especially triggered by the innate
    goodness of said smell
   For inside Galas, use a large, sturdy cardboard box lined with a
    bunch of clean newspaper in which to place pre-strained ingredients

   All leftovers can be placed in Tupperware-like containers or sturdy
    Ziploc bags, covered with previously set-aside Sauce and
    refrigerated for eating later. It will last for a day or two. Any
    longer and you may not have to worry about your cholesterol levels
    anyway (See Wikipedia on Ptomaine food poisoning).

   I would not recommend freezing the leftovers, which demonstrates the
    importance of pre-planning the appropriate amount of ingredients.

   Always over-estimate the crowd, but not by too much.   That is part
    of the science of the Low Country Boil

   Almost any seafood (Mussels, Crab legs, Lobster {If you are a
    Federal Agent and can afford it} Crawfish {Fresh and uncooked}) or
    any other edible Shellfish, can be added to the mix or substituted
    suited to taste

   Don’t try to add fish as I tried it once and ended up with a thick
    Seafood Brunswick Stew! I tried it with snapping turtle once (Don’t
    ask or I will refer you to my PBA attorney) and it did not work out
    well. I performed this nouvelle addition in the interest of SCIENCE
    and at the request of Mr. Bunk Lindsey, Bear Camp Lake, Georgia and
    snapping turtle hunter extraordinaire! If you must have snapping
    turtle, Bunk left me his turtle fritter recipe when he passed. He
    also taught me how to field dress a snapping turtle!

   I have found that a cheaper, stronger beer adds more flavor (Busch,
    Natural, Schlitz, PBR, etc.), but I would stay away from Old
    Milwaukee’s Best Light. Plain old, cheap Malt Liquors are good,
    too, but any “Flavored” Fru-Fru Malt Liquors are anathema to the
    inherent natural beauty of the Sauce. There are limits to my
    “Diversity”, as it should be!

   If you really want to live on the edge, substitute Andouille Sausage
    for the Kielbasa. If you want to mix and match the two, cut the
    Andouille Sausage into longer pieces to distinguish the two for your
    guests. Or not. Some like to slice the sausage thin, but I think
    hunks work better

   If the store only has large red potatoes, just cut them in half or
    quarters so all the potato pieces are the same size

   If budget reasons demand less shrimp or shellfish, increase sausage,
    corn and potato amounts. You can stretch it this way to match a
    police budget
   Other “Crab Boils” can be substituted, but Zatarain’s, et al,
    requires numerous large bags to attain the same effect and “Old Bay
    Seasoning” packs more punch for the money

   It is against Federal Law and blatantly un-Constitutional (To wit:
    the 4th, 5th, 6th and 15th Amendments, per Dr. Kappeler) to provide
    guests with any type of “Cocktail Sauce”. Your home created “Sauce”
    is sufficient!

   Breakdown, per person, estimate:

       o   Shrimp - 1/3 - 1/2 pound per person

       o   Sausage - 6 oz per person

       o   New Potatoes - 1/3 - 1/2 pound per person

       o   Corn – 2 to 3 ears per person

   Please call the Low Country Boil Hotline at 423-443-2575 for any
    Sauce emergencies. It is usually answered 24/7. Or email me at:

   Myself and The SECLA Social Chairmen are available for rent (We will
    work for beer) and we have the equipment, the experience and the
    shrimp connection!
   Here is my set-up. It has evolved over the last 25 years. I use a
    50ish gallon (I think, since I have never measured it, and that is
    the “Art” part!) pot with a strainer. The heat source is a rusted
    cast iron stand, hooked to a regular gas grill tank. During the

    process, my set-up sounds like two F-16s taking off, with after
    burners “ON”, and probably violates 40 or 50 EPA, Homeland Security
    and HazMat Statutes. Regulators and other safety equipment and add-
    ons are a detriment to the Sauce and take all the risk fun out of it

   I have tried to do this on the stove top, after a spontaneous, last
    minute request by my kids (Who grew up on Low Country Boil), but the
    effect is just not the same. The water boils too quickly in a small
    pot and does not allow for the appropriate amount for beer time for
    the Saucier

   Seriously, I should get at least 3 hours College Credit, and a Nobel
    Peace Prize (Hell, Al Gore got one, so there!), for presenting this
    to the rest of humanity

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