Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our New Summer Favorite: The Shrimp Boil

We've found a new recipe favorite that is a crowd pleaser! It's really not new, just new to us. We are loving shrimp boils this summer! For some reason I always thought it would be complicated, but it is probably the easiest meal I've ever done for a group. We use the recipe from Old Bay seasonings website:

4 quarts water (16 cups)
1 can (12 ounces) beer (optional)
2 tablespoons salt
8 medium red potatoes, quartered
2 large onions, cut into wedges
2 pounds lean smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 ears fresh corn, shucked and halved crosswise
4 pounds unpeeled jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 count)

Bring water, beer, OLD BAY Seasoning and salt to boil in 12-quart stockpot on high heat. Add potatoes and onions. Cook 8 minutes. Add smoked sausage. Cook 5 minutes. Add corn. Cook 7 minutes.

Stir in shrimp. Cook 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink.

Drain cooking liquid. Pour contents of pot into large serving bowl or platter. Or, mound on paper-covered table. Sprinkle with additional OLD BAY Seasoning, if desired.

This recipe seems to have just the right amount of seasoning. We've done it with and without beer and couldn't tell much difference. I do usually add a bulb of garlic. The prep is fast, just cut up a few ingredients. The clean up is even faster. We use a plastic table cover with a few paper towels in the middle for the food. No utensils, no plates, no fancy paper goods, no problem. We dump the food in the middle of the table and dig in. I sit a couple of bottles of squeeze butter and cocktail sauce on the table, spread a french loaf cut into chunks throughout, and scatter some lemon wedges. We just pour the butter and sauce right on the table. There's always a big roll of paper towels available for sticky hands. Once we are done, everything pretty much goes in the trash. This recipe feeds at least 8. The general rule is a half pound of shrimp per person. If you have guests like these two who mostly ate corn, then the leftovers aren't too bad warmed up either.

A few tricks we've learned: the Kroger frozen shrimp (about $7.99 a lb.) is really good for this. You definitely want the shells on because that holds the flavor. I want the shrimp deveined already, and these are.  We do all the cooking and eating outside. The seasoning is very potent, so a fish cooker in the great outdoors keeps it bearable. Lots of good food also calls for lots of beverages! We enjoy good ole sweet tea, and have needed more than usual every time for this meal. If you like to save a buck, Aldi seems to have the best price on red potatoes.

Here's my shopping list in case you need to pull together a quick summer party:


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