Last night my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and their three children came for dinner. I planned to order pizza (told you I was fancy), but changed my mind after my awesome sister* gushed about her New Year's Day dinner with my aunt. My sister is on the low end of the adventuresome spectrum when it comes to food, having only recently ventured beyond Cheerios, bananas and yogurt. She described a delicious meal consisting of corn, shrimp and sausage. How could she have missed Frogmore Stew? She grew up here. I can only imagine she saw it, suspected it had "weird stuff" in it and headed towards the chicken fingers. But I digress. She's had it now and that's all that matters, praise the Baby Jesus. Besides, if the stew hadn't been so notable, she might not have mentioned it and I might not have remembered how easy it is to make. She even sent me a recipe**.
I varied the recipe a little for a smaller crowd and also because I can't stand to follow directions. Maybe you like to follow directions.
Get a huge pot. I love this pot, a wedding gift, and think about the friends who gave it every time I use it****.
The pot was already out, as I had used it earlier to make turkey stock with the leftover carcass from the barbeque at our party. I know what you're thinking: That party was a while ago and the carcass must be rotten. Au contraire. The carcass had been in our neighbor's freezer - ours was stuffed with party food - and they brought it back, frozen, a couple of days ago. Now I have a freezer full of turkey stock. I know what you're thinking: The freezer is full of party food. Au contraire, silly. We ate the party food at the party. We had the space and had simply forgotten about storing the carcass at the neighbors. I'm proud to report they returned it, rather than keeping it for themselves, which proves they aren't thieves. Good neighbors are worth their weight in shrimp. Hoo-whee, did I ever digress right there, y'all.
Put 3-4 quarts of water in the pot. If you like, substitute seafood stock for some of the water. I like this one:
Add 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning, as many shakes of cayenne pepper as you like and a couple of heaping spoons full of sugar to the pot and bring everything to a boil.
Once the water's boiling, add about 1 1/2 pounds of new potatoes, sliced in half, and let them cook for 15 minutes. I wholeheartedly endorse the cooking times in the recipe my sister sent, so I copied them.
Next, add 2 pounds sliced Andouille Sausage. I found some at the Social Pig, in the fish case. They must have known what I was thinking.
After 5 minutes, add 6 ears of corn, cut into thirds or quarters.
After 5 more minutes, add 3 pounds of shrimp, beheaded, not peeled. The Social Pig carries Port Royal shrimp. Excellent.
Cook everything a few more minutes, until the shrimp is done. Drain the water, cover a table with newspaper and dump the stew.
Stand around and eat it with your hands and your beverage of choice. My husband enjoyed his customary pink bubbly (or "Dry Rosé", as he likes to call it), with ice because he's even fancier than I. My brother-in-law chose Bud Light, while his wife sipped Chardonnay. I stuck with the holiday theme and had some sparkly Pol Clément Brut. Miraculously, they all worked. Forks are optional.
P.S. Yes, y'all, that is the New York Times. Just more evidence of our consummate fanciness. So is my use of the word "consummate." You know what word I hate? "Tout" and all its derivatives. That word irritates me so much.
P.P.S. Please see important addendum to this entry here. Merci, y'all.
* As opposed to the un-awesome one - you know who you are, hooker - who keeps beating me at Scramble on Facebook.
** My other sister, the hookerish one, would never send me a recipe. She'd be too busy playing Scramble. Well, actually not, because she's nice, probably nicer than the other sister. But I still think she stinks.
*** I have a feeling I'm going to get in trouble for claiming my recipe is for Frogmore Stew. Oh, well. Go ahead and school me. I've been schooled before.