Low Country Southern Boil

Happy Monday -  hope you had a wonderful summer weekend! We were busy teaching back to back culinary classes at our kitchen studio in Chicago this past Saturday and boy, was it a delicious blast. Our first class of the day was our Low Country Southern boil. Friends got hands on in preparing our Southern feast and it was a lot of fun. To kick it things off, my lovely friend Aleda shared her mixology expertise with having everyone made a Bourbon lemonade spiked with a bit of citrus. [It was so refreshing... can't wait to share the recipe soon!]

Then friends got to mix up the key spice mix for our Low Country Boil. Everyone prepared their own container of spice mix to take home so they can do a boil for their friends and family in the future. Once we made the spice mix, we were on our way to layering the flavors for our boil. Recipes are below...

Spice Mix:
2 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste (more for a bit more heat)
1 tablespoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
4 dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine spice mix ingredients.  Fill a 20 quart stock pot half way full of water and add spices, let it come to a boil.

In the meantime, prepare your boil ingredients

4 stalks celery cut up in thirds
2 heads of garlic, halved horizontally
1 large onion, cut in wedges
5 pounds red potatoes
3 pounds raw 16-20 shrimp, deveined
2 pounds sliced cooked Andouille sausage
3 pounds cooked crawfish* 
12 small corn cobbettes, frozen

* Fresh and/or frozen raw crawfish are hard to find in our area, so I used flash frozen crawfish.

Once the water in the pot has come to a boil, add the celery, garlic, onion and potatoes. Continue to let it boil for 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat and then add the shrimp and sausage. Cook on a simmer , uncovered, for 3-5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the cooked crawfish. Cover and allow to warm through, about 3 minutes. Then add the frozen corn cobbettes to the pot to warm through, while also cooling down the mixture.

You'll often see a crawfish boil or a shrimp boil... but for our class, we did a mixture of both for a twist... and a delicious twist at that!

Traditionally, a low country boil is served outside on a picnic table lined with newspapers. For our boil, we hosted it indoors and dressed up the middle of the table with fresh lettuce leaves on the tabletop where we served our boil. On the table, we also had fresh slices of watermelon, lemon halves for dressing the boil.

Before we knew it, the boil was ready for serving and digging in! The tables were heaping with a colorful display of crawfish, shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes - all of which absorbed the amazing flavors of our spiced stock. As for sides to pair along with our boil, we prepared a lemon pasta salad, honey chipotle cornbread and for dessert, mixed berry cobbler bars! Everything was washed down with a few bottles of cold beer and some bourbon lemonade we also made.

Recipes will be coming soon for the side dishes, dessert and cocktail we prepared so stay tuned! In the meantime, make the weekend fun with a Low Country Boil with friends and family this summer. Not only is it delicious, it's fun and a nice twist to the usual outdoor meal!

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