Recipe: Beer-and-Butter “Low Country Boil”

Ingredients

  • Red potatoes, cut into small chunks*
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2-4 ears of corn, peeled, silk removed, and cut into chunks
  • Butter (salted is preferable)
  • 1 bottle of lager beer**
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Dried parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pam spray
  • Shrimp, peeled and deveined***

*Use your judgement when figuring out how many to cut up. For my boyfriend and I, I cut up about 5-6 medium potatoes.

**I recommend lagers, red ales, or golden ales. DO NOT use something cheap, like Bud or Coors. You’re looking for something with good flavor (but nothing too overpowering).

***I used a bag of frozen shrimp—you just thaw them under cold water, pop off the tails, and they’re ready to go.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400*F and spray a large baking dish with Pam. Add the red potatoes, red onion, and corn to the pan. Sprinkle with Old Bay (or similar) seasoning, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and add just a dash of crushed red pepper flakes, then toss to coat (add more seasoning and toss again, if desired—I did). Pour approx. ¾ of the bottle of beer over the dish, then sprinkle small chunks of butter on top of the mixture. Lightly spray the top of the mixture with Pam and place in the oven to cook for approx. 40 minutes. As it’s cooking, you may find that you need to increase the temperature (up to 450*F, but no higher) or increase or even reduce the cooking time. When determining if it’s finished and ready to eat, you’re looking for the red potatoes to be fork tender (i.e. you can easily poke them with a fork, or better yet, you can easily slice them with a knife), the onions and corn will be tender, and some of the beer will have cooked down.

Now, while the veggie mixture is cooking, heat a medium nonstick skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until they just start to shrink a bit and get some color. Add the remaining beer, some butter, Old Bay, salt, pepper, parsley, and garlic powder. You’re looking to create a buttery, light brown, semi-thick sauce (you don’t want a watery beer mixture—you want to cook down the liquid to get a thicker sauce); enough to not only coat the shrimp but create some excess to pour into the veggie dish. Once done, take the shrimp off of the heat and set aside until the veggies are in their last 10 minutes or so of cooking. Take the veggies out of the oven for just a minute and pour the shrimp and sauce mixture evenly over the top, then place back in the oven for the remaining time. The finished dish should have a decent amount of beer and butter swirled together at the bottom of the pan (this mixture is incredibly flavorful and also helps keep the veggies and shrimp nice and moist). Serve on a plate, or in a bowl if you’re looking to have more sauce on/in your dish and add a sprinkling of Old Bay and dried parsley, if desired.

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Cook’s Comments

This dish is probably in my top 5 for things I’ve made over the years. The combination of beer and butter should go down in the books alongside mint and chocolate, Oreos and milk, and salt and pepper.  It’s spicy, buttery, savory, and rich, and the pop of flavor from the Old Bay really brightens the dish. Cutting the corn into chunks can get a bit tricky, because you really need to eat this dish with a fork, but it’s kind of impossible to eat corn like that…so, feel free to cook the corn up separately and just pour some of the sauce over it at the end (or, just do what my boyfriend and I did and dig in…do that awkward switch from forks to fingers and don’t worry about it). Feel free to experiment with beers a bit. Do not use a crappy beer like Natural Light or Keystone…the beer imparts great flavor, so you need a lager (or perhaps a lighter red or brown ale) in this dish. I’ve used Sam Adams Boston Lager and Ghost River Golden Ale (from Memphis!), and you could always try a favorite craft brew. You might even be able to experiment with a hard cider or
apple ale if you’re feeling adventurous—the apple flavor could pair well with the dish (though, I’d recommend sticking to beer the first time out).

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