Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shrimp Boil! Cooking Up Southern Good Times!

Southern culture produces good times and great dishes too! A recent Friday, we spent the evening at a Church Shrimp Boil. You know the type of church, a building down the road that houses best intentions and the neighborhood's desire to better itself and invites others to join in community activities. I have a friend who is member of the congregation and she claimed there was, "No missin' the Boil down at the church."

Seems one fellow (Jimmy) is expert and puts all others to shame. Speaking to the man directly he contends that once you start throwing around some paprika, lemons, bay leaves and your own signature Boil ingredients "things are gonna start gettin' good!" With a wry twinkle he adds,  "Oh yeah, I got my own mix to spice things up here, let me tell ya." He was willing to share a simple recipe and insisted that when you get good at it, your preferences will then begin to show through. "Bit more of this or less of that." "That's when your personal recipe will start to come." He said not to worry about spice, just put it all in being that it doesn't translate to burn your mouth off heat! You're just flavoring the food with goodness. Here's Jimmy's Church Shrimp Boil recipe:

Church Shrimp Boil
  • 3 tablespoons Zatarain’s seasoning (or Old Bay if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons Paprika*
  • 3 lemons, quartered
  • Zest of two lemons more
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 - 2 can(s) of beer (optional)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic peel and all
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Hot sauce (Louisiana style)
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes
  • 2 pounds Andouille Sausage
  • Corn-on-the-Cob, shucked and halved
  • 3 - 4 pounds large raw shrimp, shell on
* Jimmy's favorite is Spanish Smoked Paprika. He sometimes includes chopped celery and red bell pepper.

Fill a large stockpot with water, spice mix and aromatics. Bring to a raging boil. Add potatoes, sausage and corn one-at-a-time (to strainer basket) keeping in mind cook time for each individual ingredient. Jimmy cautions that the SHRIMP are all important and it's best to add shrimp, stir, and cook until shrimp are just pink. They're gonna continue to cook out of the pot. Drain. And dump out on a picnic table and dive in. After the blessing the hall goes silent. Jimmy's done it again! Talk about getting to know your neighbor elbow to elbow!

Serve with ample Louisiana Hot Sauce (Crystal, Frank's Red Hot, Tabasco etc.) and cold, cold beverages.

Copyright © Mick Huerta 2012. All Rights Reserved.
All Accordin' - Travel, Culture, Food & Wines!

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