August 31, 2013

Low Country Shrimp Boil and the End of Summer, Thank Heavens

There's a reason I've abandoned this blog for the past month...this has been the longest and most stressful summer of my memory.  There have been lots of hurdles to jump and there are more adjustments still to come. I've decided that by the end of September, when all issues are resolved,  I am going to have myself a nice little nervous breakdown. 
But, for today...this glorious Labor Day Weekend...which finally ushers in the end of this crazy summer...I am going to pack away the tears and anxiety and have a great time! 
I might have mentioned that we are blessed to have a house at the shore and while I haven't been able to spend near enough down time here as I would have liked this summer we are here for the weekend and looking forward to a houseful of family.

Our beer of choice!
One of our main menu items at Lost Cay Cottage is Low Country Shrimp Boil. You do not have to live at the beach or anywhere near the coast (unless you want really fresh seafood!) to put this feast together. The ingredients can vary but the main ingredient is lots of loved ones around the table.

For about 6 people...
2 bottles or cans of beer, as much water as beer, spices (I use Old Bay Seafood Seasoning , Lowry's Seasoning Salt, and Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning), 1 whole head of garlic garlic slice off the tips and leave unseparated and unpeeled, 2 large Vidalia onions cut in quarters, 2 large lemons cut in half, kielbasa sliced into 2 inch chunks, 12-15 red potatoes halved with skin on, 6 fresh ears of corn on the cob broken in half,  about 3 lbs. of  raw, unpeeled shrimp

I rarely add clams so I didn't include them in this recipe, they take up too much room in my pot!
I use the largest pot I have which is roughly 5 gallons. The boil is cooked in layers bringing each layer to a boil before adding the next. Covering is essential because steam is at work here too!

1. Pour beer and water into pot. Liberally add Old Bay, Lowry's, and Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning.  Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Add onions and the whole head of garlic. Cover and bring to a boil.
3.  Add lemons halves, squeeze some of the juice into the pot and put the rest of the lemon into the mix seeds and all.
Cover and bring to a boil.
4. Potatoes are next. This time cover and bring to a boil until they just begin to soften.
5.  Add Kielbasa, cover and bring to a boil.
6.  Add corn on the cob, 1 ear per person of fresh broken in half and 1 frozen ear plus a few extra if using frozen.
Cover and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
7.  Add shrimp ( if frozen is what I have I just add them frozen) .
Cover and cook until shrimp is pink through.  I usually add some more seasoning at this point for extra punch. I also try to stir it up, if possible.
We always, always eat on the permitting!
 Serving...There are several ways to can cover a table with craft or newspaper and pour the (drained) boil right onto the table or you can serve it on large platters and paper plates. If you use large platters you can retain some of the flavorful cooking broth.
No utensils necessary but lots of napkins or paper towels required!
I serve with extra lemon slices, lots of cocktail sauce, beer, wine, water, and your favorite bread (we love Harris Teeter's Jalapeno Cheese bread) to slather with yummy steamed garlic from the pot.
We always start this meal with Pimento cheese and crackers and then end with Key Lime Pie but I think this year we will have Atlantic Beach Pie.
So for now...time to celebrate! Enjoy family and friends if you can this weekend...
Happy Labor Day!

As with most military families, it will be bittersweet because neither of our Army sons are able to come home but they are in our hearts and prayers and they know we will celebrate with a big ol'
Shrimp Boil as soon as we are together again.

'Til next time!


  1. Being from the Low Country (Charleston, SC), you can't have a warm weather celebration without low country boil in my eyes. It's the best part of the beginning of football season. It's still warm enough to serve the boil spread out on picnic tables ;)

  2. You are so right, Kristen! I'm from Charleston, too!


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