A Low Country Boil is my idea of a perfect no-fuss meal that’s just perfect for summer entertaining. In the time it takes to boil potatoes, you can have an entire meal prepared. And the best part? Everything cooks in the same pot. If you hate cleaning up after a meal as much as I do, then that sentence alone just sold you on this.
You can just as easily make this meal for 2 as you can for 20. Your only limitation is the size of your pot. When I was a kid my parents used to have a huge party every summer where they would cook vats of Low Country Boil outside using a fish cooker, like this one. Every time I taste my first shrimp out of the pile, I’m transported to one of those summer nights, complete with loud music playing and people bustling about everywhere you look. Those were fun nights, even for us youngsters. So you see, this meal that is anything but fancy, is one that is extraordinarily special to me. I hope that one day my kids will have such strong memories attached to some of the foods we make.
I decided to make my own version of everyone’s favorite seafood seasoning – Old Bay. A Low Country Boil wouldn’t be the same without it. But I have this thing where I need to know 100% of the ingredients, and on the Old Bay website, the ingredients read: “CELERY SALT (SALT, CELERY SEED), SPICES (INCLUDING RED PEPPER AND BLACK PEPPER), AND PAPRIKA.” So, I did some research and opted to make my own using spices I already had on hand. Over time I’ve tweaked my seasoning mix to our preference (meaning I’ve made it more spicy), but the recipe below is very mild and very close to what you’d taste right of that red and yellow box. The amount below is enough for making one recipe of this Low Country Boil. I like to make extra to keep on hand for sprinkling on fish and shrimp anytime I want a little extra flavor. I bet you will too!
Low Country Boil
serves 4 (easily doubles, or triples!)
2 pounds small red potatoes, washed and cut into quarters
2 pounds kielbasa style sausage
4 ears of fresh corn on the cob, cut into approx. 4″ pieces
2.5 pounds shrimp, shells still on
4 dried bay leaves, crumbled into fine pieces
3 teaspoons celery salt
2 teaspoons dried mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 lemons, cut into wedges
cocktail sauce (optional)
Fill a large pot with 8 quarts of water. Bring to a boil.
Mix together all seasonings. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mix, then and add the remaining seasoning to the boiling water.
Place potatoes into the boiling water. Let cook 8 minutes, or until they are just beginning to soften when pierced with a fork. Add sausage. Cook for 5 minutes. Add corn to the pot. Let cook another 5 minutes. Finally, add shrimp to the pot and let cook 3-4 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque and completely done. This time may vary slightly depending on how large your shrimp are – I typically use a medium size.
Drain well and sprinkle with the reserved seasoning. Toss well and serve in a large bowl, or several large bowls, with plenty of lemon wedges. Shield your eyes when the squirting begins!
(An Our Family Eats original recipe)