Marie’s Low Country Boil
Everyone’s heard variations on the saying “The cobbler’s kids go barefoot”, and it’s not all that different around here at times. Sure, we have great meals on a regular basis.. but when things get super busy, we tend to lose all creativity and drive, and slap together one of our go-to meals. Easy, little effort, and very satisfying. In winter, that usually ends up being chili.. but in summer, we love our low country boil.. not a common thing here in Minnesota, but it is SO freaking good! It’s also pretty much the ideal meal for getting together – and would be great for a rehearsal dinner or small, casual wedding dinner.
Hubby and I actually planned to do a Low Country Boil (AKA “Frogmore Stew” for our own rehearsal dinner, but his stepmother already had something planned. Figured I’d put that out there for those of you looking for new and unique ideas to employ in your own wedding plans!
This Southern dish can be done so many ways, and we never do two exactly the same. It can be a quick and easy meal for 2, or it can be the basis for a GREAT cookout party with friends. Additionally, it can be a frugal, thrifty thing.. or as extravagant as you want.
The basic ingredients are very basic: Corn, Smoked Sausage, Shrimp, Potatoes, Lemons, Seasoning
You get a big pot of seasoned water boiling, and one by one add the ingredients to the pot, starting with potatoes (take the longest to cook), and ending with shrimp (take very little time to cook).
Of course, I never do anything the way you’re supposed to.. and besides, I’m not even southern. That means I’m exempt from any rules that may be applied here, right? LOL.
The big change I like to make is with the seasoning. You’re “supposed to” use Old Bay Seasoning for this. Not only is that boring, but the salt content is insane, and besides.. customization is always more fun! I like using a mix of fresh (onions, garlic, green onions, jalapenos, etc) and dried (sage, pepper, dried mustard, parsley, bay leaves, etc) ingredients to flavor my broth.
You can also start your broth off in different ways – use some chicken broth, boil fresh shrimp shells (without the shrimp in them!) for added flavor – just remove the shells before adding your food and other seasonings in! Also, adding a can or two of beer to your water / broth adds a great flavor. Any of these is a much better option than just water and Old Bay Seasoning, in my not so humble opinion!
The ingredients are also customizable. Corn, Potatoes, Shrimp, and Sausage are a good solid foundation.. but feel free to add clams, mussels, and even crab legs. It’s your stew!
Now that I’ve made the whole thing sound way more complicated than it is, let me give you a basic recipe for it, and let you just have at it :). This makes a substantial amount of food, so don’t be surprised if you have leftovers. It also makes ridiculously good food, so don’t be surprised if you don’t have leftovers because everyone gorged till they had nothing left to eat!
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Grandma’s Potato Salad
This recipe was originally posted last summer.. but with recent weather, BBQs, and a wicked craving for it.. figured it’s about time to drag it back to the spotlight!
Lately, I’ve been on a mission to translate my family favorite “recipes” (no, that’s not a misuse of quotation marks!) into actual recipes.
It’s a bigger endevor than it sounds to be – my family writes down recipes like we cook. By that, I mean that “a handful of” or “some” are used as actual units of measurements, or any indication of actual quantity is left out completely. We add an ingredient till things look or taste right, which is fine when you’re comfortable with what you’re doing.. but not so hot for conveying a recipe to my blog readers!
Take, for instance, my Grandma’s Potato Salad recipe. She makes the most amazing potato salad I’ve ever had, but this is her recipe, in its entirety:
boil red potatoes, cut in 4
Don’t overcook them
Put in fridge, cover with italian dressing, let sit overnight
Take them out, add chopped green onion, celery, radishes, eggs (hardboiled and sliced)
Use Hellman’s full fat mayo, don’t use too much
See what I’m dealing with? LOL.
The recipe is far too great to NOT share with the world, so here it is: