Low Country Boil is a classic one-pot meal from the coastal region of South Carolina and Georgia (the Low Country). Also known as Frogmore Stew or Beaufort Boil, Low Country Boil is a simple, yet delicious meal that is a lot of fun to eat. This particular recipe serves about 4, but by increasing the quantity of ingredients, you can feed a crowd. You can even find Low Country Boil calculators online to determine the amount of ingredients you will need to feed a particular amount of people.
This is a basic recipe, but you can do your own thing. I have seen recipes that include crabs, crab legs, clams, green beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc… I added mushrooms to my Low Country Boil, as seen in the picture. Serve with crusty bread and cold beer.
Low Country Boil
1 gallon water
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into eight wedges
2 pounds baby potatoes
1 sausage rope (about 14 ounces), cut into bite-size slices
4 ears corn, shucked, cleaned and cut into fourths
2 pounds fresh shelled shrimp
Bring the water, lemon, Old Bay, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves to a boil. Add the onion and potatoes, return to a boil, and cook 10 minutes. Add the sausage and corn, return to a boil, and cook 10 more minutes. Check to see if potatoes are tender. If so, add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 3 minutes. If the potatoes are not tender, cook a few more minutes before adding the shrimp. Drain and serve on a large platter (or on newspaper in the middle of the table) with melted butter and cocktail sauce.
People in South Carolina love their rice. A variety of rice dishes are popular in the state, especially in Charleston and the Lowcountry. At one point in history, the Lowcountry was the center of rice production in the U.S. After slavery was abolished, rice production shifted to the Gulf Coast states, notably Louisiana and Texas. Rice is still an integral part of South Carolina’s agriculture. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the growing of an heirloom long grain rice variety called Carolina Gold. If you have a chance to purchase some Carolina Gold, do so. It’s wonderful.
Pilau (or purloo) is a common rice dish found on tables in the Lowcountry. Just as there are many different ways of preparing the dish, there are also many different names. “Perloo” or “purloo” and “pilaf” being very common. No matter what it is called, the dish consists of rice cooked in a broth, often with meat and/or vegetables for flavoring.
This particular pilau can be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using vegetable broth. If not using bacon, heat 2 tablespoons oil to cook the onion and bell pepper.
When choosing okra, pick the smaller pods. The larger ones can be quite tough and fibrous. You can use frozen okra for this dish.
4 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 pound okra, stem end removed and chopped or thinly sliced (you can use frozen okra)
3 tomatoes, chopped (or use a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained)
1 cup uncooked long grain rice (try Carolina Gold if you can find it)
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large skillet (that has a lid), cook the bacon over medium-high heat until just crisp. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender. Add the chopped okra, tomatoes, rice, and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stir well, then cover. Do not use a spoon to stir the pilau beyond this point. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has cooked away, about 15 minutes. Fluff the pilau with a fork and serve.
We moved to South Carolina in July. Since moving here, I have been honing my southern cooking skills and trying to learn more about the cuisine of this backasswards state. Grits is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of South Carolina food. These people LOVE their grits. On my baby’s first visit (at 9 months) to his new pediatrician, I was told to go ahead and get him started on grits immediately. I had never cooked grits before moving here and it has taken me several attempts to make decent grits. I have found that the key to creamy grits is to use at least some milk when cooking them (I use half milk, half water). It also helps to add lots of butter and to stir often while they are cooking. Shrimp and grits is the quintessential South Carolina dish and one of the first recipes I tried. There are countless variations, but we really like this particular recipe. I serve the shrimp and grits with stewed okra and tomatoes and sometimes collard greens. Very Southern.
Shrimp and Grits
1 pound medium-size raw shrimp (31/40 count)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 bacon slices, chopped
1 (8-oz.) package sliced fresh mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Peel and devein shrimp. Toss shrimp with flour until lightly coated, shaking to remove excess.
2. Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon, and drain on paper towels. Reserve drippings in skillet. If you would like to reduce the fat content of this dish, pour excessive drippings into a glass container and only leave 1 or 2 tablespoons in the skillet.
3. Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings 4 minutes or just until mushrooms begin to release their liquid. Add shrimp, and sauté 3 to 3 1/2 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute (do not brown garlic). Add lemon juice and hot sauce. Sprinkle with bacon and serve immediately over prepared grits.
Adapted from the Hominy Grill’s Shrimp and Grits found in Southern Living, MAY 2009