The Lowcountry Boil (or by another name, Frogmore Stew) is a signature dish and favorite Lowcountry meal that is best shared with good friends. Made of simple ingredients this “stew” marries together the fruit of the sea (shrimp), farm provisions (sausage) and vegetables (corn and potatoes). History has it that this deliciousness originated on a St. Helena Island, a Sea Island just a few miles east of Beaufort, South Carolina.
The traditional method for cooking and serving a Lowcountry Boil is to use one pot for cooking and a table topped with newspapers for serving and eating. This approach is best served outdoors around a large table where everyone can dig into the pile of shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes. A few beers and some wine and it is good eatin’!
A couple of weeks ago Mr. Ed and I hosted some friends for dinner and I decided to offer a deconstructed version of the Lowcountry Boil. I did this to accommodate a guest who tries to avoid eating anything that has hoofs. Although I used turkey sausage in my version (andouille sausage is preferred), just to be safe I thought it better to keep the ingredients separate while the cooked.
So, rather than a one pot meal I cooked and seasoned everything separately. It takes a bit more time; however, there are some definite flavor and texture benefits.
Fresh shrimp (from the local Port Royal Farmer’s Market) are so delicious when they are roasted in the oven. They are almost sweet and the bite is wonderful.
I like the taste of the turkey sausage when it is pan fried and get crispy. You cannot even tell it is turkey sausage!
Corn from the Farmer’s Market is best when it is boiled for just 3 minutes (a trick I learned while living in East Lansing, Michigan) in water sprinkled with a bit of sugar. And I like to roast butternut squash, onions and red potatoes together until they get crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The addition of butternut squash ups the “healthy” quotient just a bit.
The result. I served the same ingredients of a Lowcountry Boil with a slightly different flavor and texture profile. Our guests, who are new to the Lowcountry loved the meal. I fancied things up a bit by using my Portuguese made platters for serving and plates, forks and napkins for a sit down meal. And of course there was wine!
I hope you try to make your own Lowcountry Boil. A couple of years ago I served this to my family from California when they visited. They took the recipe home and made it for their families. I was told recently that when my Aunt asked her grandson (who now lives in Nashville) what he wanted for his birthday dinner his answer was Lowcountry Boil!
Now I call that paying food forward! I hope you enjoy the simple comforts of a satisfying meal,
Now for the easy instructions. I’ve listed the process in an order that, hopefully, keeps the food warm and ready to serve. I have found that this meal is very tasty when served at room temperature, too.
Oven-Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions and Red Potatoes
- 1 medium size butternut squash
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1 lb. red potatoes
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Steps: Peel butternut squash, cut in half and remove seeds. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Remove skin and ends of onion. Cut in half and cut into 1/2 inch wedges. Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Line roasting pan with foil. Place squash, onion and potatoes on pan and drizzle with olive oil, mix to coat and spread out in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from oven.
- 1 lb. of large fresh shrimp (peeled, with tails left on)
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil to coat shrimp
- sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning
Steps: Peel and devein shrimp leaving tails on. Line baking sheet with foil, spread shrimp on foil. Drizzle olive oil over shrimp and use hands to mix and coat all shrimp, making sure shrimp are in one layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Old Bay Seasoning to taste. Roast at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until just pink. I learned to prepare shrimp in this fashion from watching Ina Garten on her Food Network show, the Barefoot Contessa.
Smoked Turkey Sausage Sauté
Steps: Slice sausage diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Spray saute pan with PAM, turn on heat, add sausage and saute until sausage is browned on both sides. Remove from pan and cover with foil.
- 4 ears of sweet corn (husked with silk removed)
- 2 Tsp of sugar
- Large pot of boiling water
- Butter for rolling corn
Steps: Break each ear of corn (why do they call them ears?) into four pieces. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add sugar and corn and boil for 3 minutes, no more. Remove from boiling water (carefully!). Roll on butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Corn will be crisp, buttery and sweet.