I was having kind of a rough day yesterday. Let’s just say it was a day of roadblocks, contrary people and general frustration. My husband knew I was having a tough go, so he wanted to make me something special for dinner and asked me what would I enjoy.
And I couldn’t think of anything. Me. The writer of this blog, couldn’t come up with something I would like to eat. I was really in a funk for that to happen.
So, my husband came up with a solution himself. We had been watching a food travel show and it featured Charleston, South Carolina. I have only been there one time, but I love the city. Culture, history, and great local cuisine.
One of the featured restaurants was Bowen’s Island Restaurant, on Bowen’s Island, just a short drive from Charleston.The place looks great, kind of the run down shack look that you know has really good eats.
As the show progressed, they featured a traditional Lowcountry dish called Frogmore Stew.
Well, my husband decided that this was what he was going to make for my” get of of the funk” meal.
So here is the low down on Frogmore Stew. One-no frogs in it. Two-not really a stew.
Frogmore Stew is also known as Lowcountry boil or Beaufort Stew. Historians claim that it was invented by shrimpers who threw whatever they had together to make a meal. It consists of freshly shucked corn, fresh shrimp, small red potatoes, sliced onions and beef sausage or kielbasa. This is all simmered together in a crab boil mixture.
The results? Delicious! The seasonings from the crab boil plus the sausage all blend together in a spicy but not hot blend of flavors. The potatoes become soft and creamy, and the skin of the potatoes absorb the boil and have a salty, pungent flavor. The corn and the shrimp were tender and delightful. Pair this with a cold beer, and all your troubles will fade away.
I love a simple dish that was born of necessity. The shrimpers cooked with what they had on hand, and probably boiled it up right on the boat. Shepherd’s Pie came about by the shepherds in Britain having to stay with the flocks to protect them, and also created haggis, which is a mish mash of ground up organ meat, and mixed with barley or oatmeal, and sewn into a sheep’s stomach and boiled. (Don’t turn your nose up, haggis is quite good.) The Syracuse NY area is famous for salt potatoes, which are small white potatoes boiled in a salt brine. The salt brine makes the skins slightly dry and crunchy, while the inside of the potatoes is creamy and smooth.The workers on the salt flats in Syracuse would make salt potatoes for their mid day meal. All simple fare, using what was on hand and not wasting anything.
Many recipes that are traditional to an area came from a group of hard working people coming up with a meal to get through their day. Local foods are the legacy of history, culture and community. Enjoy in local cuisines, and while you are at it, find out the stories behind the food.
And be sure to tell the stories to others.
Special thanks to my husband, who took the time and care to make me a wonderful meal. What a great guy. Love you!
South Carolina Frogmore Stew-RR Adams
- 3 quarts of water
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 medium onion, halved
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 pinch of kosher salt
- 3 ounces of dry crab boil or Old Bay seasoning
- 1- 1/2 lbs small red potatoes
- 4 ears corn, husked and cleaned
- 1 -1/2 lbs fresh large shrimp, unpeeled
- 1 lb smoked beef sausage or kielbasa, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 dash of Tabasco sauce or to taste
- Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the water and throw in the halves. Add the onion, garlic, salt and crab boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and sausage, and return to a boil. Simmer covered for 20 minutes. Break the ears of corn in half and add to the pot. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the shrimp and cover for 5 minutes-no longer! or your shrimp will be rubbery.
- Drain off the liquid and reserve. You can use it for stock or marinade.
- Stir the melted butter and hot sauce together. Serve the butter with the plated stew for dipping or drizzling.
You can also add scallops and craw-fish to the mix.
Serve in bowls with a nice cold crisp beer.