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How do you boil?

LCB-spread-300x225Those of you that follow the blog know that I’m a big fan of low country boils (see my previous recipe/post here).

Well, this past week I spend some time down on the Atlantic coast of Florida, and while picking up some veggies at a local farmers stand on the side of the highway, I got a tip that has changed my boil recipe forever. I’d mentioned that the lemons and onions I was picking up were going into a boil, and the farmer handed me his last head of green cabbage and said “Take this on the house. Cut it up into quarters and drop it into your boil with about 10 minutes left.” And then he went back to packing up my peaches and tomatoes (not going into the boil.)

I was a little surprised, and intrigued. Cabbage? In a low country boil? Heck, I get enough sideways looks for including snow crab in mine, might as well try something else off the beaten path. So, despite the fact that I was cooking for my in-laws and had a reputation to uphold, I threw in this wild card to see how it would play.

The man knew his stuff.

The cabbage broke apart as it cooked, and soaked up all of the essence of the broth, more so than anything else in the pot. It was like someone had distilled all the flavor in the boil and injected it directly into the leaves. The cabbage turned out to be the spiciest part of the whole boil, taking on every bit of hot sauce, cayenne, and pepper.

This got me thinking…what are your oddball additions to a good low country boil? If the cabbage was that good, what else am I missing?

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

17 comments Add your comment

Grasshopper

June 18th, 2013
1:23 pm

That makes sense; the cabbage is always the best part of the vegetable soup I make. And it’s great in stir fry too. A very under-appreciated food for sure.

SP

June 18th, 2013
1:40 pm

I went to a boil and they had the usual sausage, shrimp, onions, corn and potatoes but that also added baby carrots, broccoli, button mushrooms and radishes. People were fighting for the radishes! So good!

Baltisraul....

June 18th, 2013
1:48 pm

Any seafood, shrimp, crabs and mudbugs are all good. I like the idea of cabbage also. But pls don’t leave out a nice spicy sausage.

Patrick

June 18th, 2013
1:52 pm

I had never thought of using cabbage. Of course, the only time I’m lucky to attend a Low Country Boil is when my employer decides to have one. We used to have an office down in Brunswick and every year around October they’d bring up a ton of shrimp, sausage (no crab), taters, onion, and corn, and we’d all line up.

@Grasshopper – I’ll bet most Asian cuisine restaurants will use cabbage because it’s cheaper and easier to come by than the more traditional leafy green: bok choi. You can find it in some grocery stores, but it costs way more than a head of cabbage, and if you use cabbage, especially the outer leaves, you can barely tell the difference. My mom doesn’t use cabbage in homemade stir fries, since my dad wouldn’t care for it, but I’ll eat it whenever I eat at any Chinese restaurant.

Kar

June 18th, 2013
2:01 pm

Cabbage makes sense, it’s a mild, cheap vegetable that picks up broth flavorings easily.

Although that makes me think of a New England boiled dinner.

Road Scholar

June 18th, 2013
2:56 pm

My aunt told me to add cabbage to my Maryland Crab Soup (red broth). Never heard that before. It is basically vegetable beef soup with crab and Old Bay. Yum!

Finn McCool

June 18th, 2013
3:31 pm

whole artichokes

I think I got that from one of Emeril’s recipes.

Baltisraul....

June 18th, 2013
4:26 pm

Kar…..isn’t NE boiled dinner potatoes, cabbage and corned beef or pastrami?

Ned Ludd

June 18th, 2013
5:49 pm

Sweet Potatoes and brussel sprouts are always a part of any Luddite boil. Also try to trim corn but keep it in the shucks. Take the same broth and use it to cook black beans and rice. Great Hoppin’ John. Can also use the broth and add some jalapenos for boiling peanuts. We always have a smaller pot full of these and guests love to munch on’em while we talk and drink.

How do you boil? | CookingPlanet

June 18th, 2013
8:09 pm

[...] How do you boil? [...]

Kar

June 18th, 2013
8:30 pm

Baltisraul, exactly. You don’t really need a lot of cabbage but it balances out the potatoes and heavy broth. I can see it doing the same with the heavy spices in a boil.

drummerpop

June 19th, 2013
12:48 am

Button mushrooms and quartered artichokes REALLY soak up all the spicy boil and have tremendous flavor. Try it!

Baltisraul....

June 19th, 2013
8:09 am

Many good ideas to make frogmore stew a better meal. Doubt these suggestions would go over well in South Carolina! I guess the same could be said for us Georgians about our Brunswick stew!

Robert

June 19th, 2013
8:57 am

Diced rutabagas.

Lisa

June 19th, 2013
9:49 am

FoodFan

June 19th, 2013
11:03 am

Yes Lisa – we usually add a whole head of garlic, just split across laterally to expose all the garlic cloves on both sides. Squeeze out the cloves onto some French bread to help cool everything off. And gotta agree with the artichokes as well!