Dinner:  September 12, 2007

A month or so ago, as I flipped through one of the food magazines I regularly read, I came across a recipe for a dish called Frogmore Stew. It was too warm at the time to think about making the dish, but I filed it away as an option for a cooler evening. Summer’s heat is waning now, and corn and tomatoes are at their peak of flavor, so I thought last night was the perfect time to make this dish. The only problem was, I couldn’t find the recipe I had originally looked at. A quick Google search turned up two recipes that sounded similar to what I remembered: Hugh Acheson’s recipe from Food and Wine, and The Lee brothers’ version. I ended up using these two recipes as a jumping-off point and winging the rest according to what we had on hand, and I have to say I was very pleased with the result. My version is in no way authentic low-country cooking, but it’s a darn tasty dish for a crisp early-fall night.

Frogmore Stew

1 tbsp. each butter and olive oil
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (I used kielbasa from Tamarack Hollow)
2 cups diced red onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 cups diced fresh plum tomato
1/2 cup white vermouth
3 cups water
2-3 bay leaves
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp. smoked chipotle powder
1 tbsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. fresh thyme
8-10 small/medium new potatoes, halved or quartered
2 ears corn, cleaned and cut into 6 rounds
1/2 lb. shrimp, deveined but with shells on
Kosher salt
Chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges for garnish

Melt butter and oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned. Remove and set aside. Add the onion, season with salt and cook a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic and plum tomato, another pinch of salt and cook a few minutes more. Stir in the vermouth and cook until mostly evaporated, then add the water, bay leaves, Old Bay, chipotle powder, lemon zest and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cook uncovered until the potatoes are fork-tender. Add the corn and shrimp, cover, and cook until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning, remove the bay leaves, then ladle the stew into bowls and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Serve with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the broth.

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