When people talk about the Lowcountry, they’re talking about the region of South Carolina along the coast near the Georgia line, but you’ll find Lowcountry cooking in both states.
Because it’s so good, so basic, people just assume the recipe’s been around for years, but it’s credited to a National Guardsman on duty in the 1960s who needed an easy way to feed 100 soldiers.
He was from a place in South Carolina called Frogmore, so they called it Frogmore stew. I’m glad the name didn’t stick.
It’s a 1-pot meal that would be great for a Labor Day weekend get-together. Here’s why:
- It’s good. It has shrimp and sausage and corn and potatoes. Who doesn’t like shrimp (besides people with allergies)?
- It’s easy to make. When we were in Savannah a few weeks ago, I found a cookbook, called The Savannah Cookbook, that pointed out that Lowcountry boil is less a specific recipe than a general idea. No two cooks make it the same way. You throw everything into a big stockpot and boil it. That’s it. It’s pretty hard to mess up.
- It’s party food. It’s easy enough to make a batch for a few people, but it’s just as easy to feed the whole neighborhood. Plus, you’re supposed to serve Lowcountry boil by draining it and dumping everything out onto a picnic table covered with newspapers. How cool is that?
Ingredients (serves 8, but it’s easy to scale up or down)
- 4 tablespoons of shrimp boil spice or Cajun seasoning, to taste
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 Vidalia onion, cut into quarters
- 2 pounds of sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
- 2 pounds of new potatoes
- 8 ears of corn, shucked and snapped in two
- 4 pounds of shrimp
- Fill a stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the spice, butter, onion and sausage. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, until they’re almost tender.
- Add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes, until the shrimp is pink. Shrimp cooks fast, so you don’t want to leave them in any longer than 3 minutes.
- Drain and pour everything onto a platter or picnic table covered with newspapers. Serve with cocktail sauce, melted butter and lemon wedges.