I was introduced to Frogmore Stew just miles (as the crow flies) from Fogmore plantation in South Carolina. I was visiting Howard Fogle on Edisto Island, and was introduced to this lowcountry dish, which is South Carolina’s state meal. Over the years, through trial and error, I’ve tweaked and personalized it. When I was still teaching in the SALT institute I hosted an annual Frogmore Cookout for the students and their families. Many of them begged for my recipe, so I’m finally revealing my secrets below. This is a “one person” recipe, because I scale it each year based on the number of diners (as many as 40). Of course, if you’re planning on feeding that many you’ll need some special equipment (e.g., a 100 or 120 quart pot).
Feel free to tweak this recipe, because other than spices it’s hard to go wrong. If you want blue crabs, add them. If you want more shrimp and less sausage, then adjust it. This is also a very mild recipe, so you can steep everything so the spices soak in, increase the Zatarain ® quantity, use the highly concentrated Zatarain ® oil, or all three!
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 oz. Crushed Garlic
1/8 Whole Lemons
1/8 lb. Large Vidalia Onions
1 1/4 Mini Corn Cobs
1/3 oz. Powdered Zatarain's ® Shrimp/Crab boil (not the net bags!)
1/4 lb. Red New Potatoes
1/3 lb. Polska Kielbasa or Smoked Sausage
1/3 lb. Crab Legs
1/7 lb. Cooked Crawfish
1/4 lb. Jumbo Shrimp without heads
Fill a pot with enough water that will cover the food once it has all been added (approximately 1.5 quarts per person). Add all the spices, except the Shrimp/Crab boil. The lemons should be sliced in half and their juices squeezed into the pot before throwing the rind into the pot. Remove the skins of the onions and cut them in half before adding to the pot.
When the water reaches a rolling boil, add the corn. When the water returns to a rolling boil, check the corn for tenderness with a fork. When the corn is cooked, remove and store in a Styrofoam cooler. Don’t use a plastic cooler, because it will melt! I remove the corn at this step because it really absorb the hot spices. If your diners can take the heat, you could add the corn after the potatoes, and leave them in the stew throughout the process.
After the corn has been removed, add the Zatarains ® and potatoes and stir. When the water returns to a rolling boil, add the sausage and stir. When the water returns to a rolling boil, add the crab legs and crawfish and stir. The cooking time for these two items will vary depending on whether they are frozen and whether they are precooked. I use precooked and frozen, so I only wait just long enough for them to heat thoroughly. Now, before adding the shrimp, check the potatoes with a fork. If they're soft, then you can add the shrimp. When the shrimp turns pink, dump the mini corn cobs back into the stew and stir. Then lift the strainer out of the pot and pour the whole mixture onto a picnic table covered with newspapers and/or towels.
Serve with cocktail sauce, hush puppies, slaw, and iced drinks.