August 18, 2012

Frogmore Stew

Disclaimer: No frogs were harmed in the making of this stew.

As it happens, the "Frogmore" appellation is derived from a location rather than amphibians.  So you can relax.  Frogmore stew is a classic lowcountry dish.  We firmly believe in learning about and enjoying local foods, which is how we were introduced to the stew in the first place.  We'd seen it on menus all over, but first tried it at Low Country Bistro.  LCB is, by the way, one of the best restaurants in Charleston, in my humble opinion.  The best thing about them is that they provide fantastic food at a reasonable price.  So, if you ever find yourself in Charleston, hit up LCB!

Saturday is Farmer's Market day in the town I work at, and the market is good enough that we're willing to make the 40 minute drive a few Saturdays a month.  It's also puppy-friendly and Kodi has many admirers there.  We picked up the usual tomatoes, goat cheese and lamb stew meat, but were also lured in by the fresh shrimp.  I'm starting to come around on shrimp and The Husband was about drooling over these huge, juicy bugs, so we got a bunch.  I asked what he wanted me to make out of them, and we came up with Frogmore stew (though we did just steam a few as an appetizer.  Amazing!).

This dish is fairly simple to make.  I do strongly recommend making your own stock and crab boil spice though.  The stock really makes or breaks the dish and if you use a commercial spice mix you'll risk having an overly salty stew.  Seriously, it will take you just over an hour to make the stock and it's so worth it.  The boil spice is a matter of moments to mix up!


1 leek (white parts), diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
5 small red potatoes, cubed
2 c shellfish stock (recipe follows)
1 T crab boil spice (go find your own, I'm not sold on my recipe yet)
1/2 T Old Bay
1 andouille sausage, sliced
1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
Water as needed

Sautee the leek, garlic and celery in the evoo for 1 minute.  Add tomato, corn, potatoes, stock and spices.  Simmer until potatoes are tender, 5-10 minutes.  Add water as needed, probably a cup or two.  Add the sausage and shrimp and continue simmering until shrimp are just cooked, 3-5 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread or biscuits.

Shellfish Stock

5 c shells (from shrimp, crabs, lobsters, etc)
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic

Combine all ingredients in a pot over medium heat, with enough water to cover everything.  Stir once.  Do not boil.  Keep just below a simmer, not stirring.  As foam forms at the top, skim it off and discard.  Cook like this approximately 1 hour or until color and flavor are both rich.  Strain out solids.

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