Thursday, December 29, 2011

Frogmore Stew a Southern Delight

Some call it “Frogmore Stew”, even though there really aren’t any frogs in it. Legend has it the name came from the birthplace of Richard Gay. He created it from an old family recipe when asked to cook a meal for 100 hungry national guardsmen using regional ingredients. Frogmore itself is a community on St. Helena Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina. And the name of the stew is variously referred to as “Beaufort Stew” or “lowcountry boil.”

In South Carolina, “lowcountry” refers to its central and southern coastline, including the Sea Islands. Here, the culture and cooking draws from its Southern, European, Caribbean, Native American and African roots. Lowcountry boil originated with the Gullah people of these Sea Islands, who are descendants of the East African slave trade. They and have preserved much of their culture and cuisine for visitors to enjoy today.

Along the East and Gulf coast of the US there are a number of seafood boil recipes. The star of the show is locally harvested shellfish.

Lowcountry Boil

4 pounds small red potatoes

5 quarts water

1 (3-ounce) bag of crab boil seasoning

4 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

2 pounds kielbasa or hot smoked link sausage, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces

6 ears of corn, halved

4 pounds large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined

Cocktail sauce (optional)

Add potatoes to large pot, then add 5 quarts water and seasonings. Cover pot and heat to a rolling boil; cook 5 minutes. Add sausage and corn, and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add shrimp to stockpot; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain. Dump onto a newspaper covered table. Serves 12. To serve more—find a bigger pot.

Crab, onion and butter are sometimes added. Whatever you call it, this one-pot wonder is tasty and satisfying!