First, let me say that I used a recipe for inspiration (thank you, Pinterest) and that recipe can be found here: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/1030/Slow-Low-Country-Boil99311.shtml
Now, on to the cooking!
I started with my favorite slow cooker. It's one of those huge oval ones and you'll need one that size if you plan to make this. In fact, my slow cooker wasn't even big enough and I had to... well, I'll get to that in a minute. Anyway, get your biggest slow cooker ready to go by putting a liner in it. If you don't know what a slow cooker liner is, check your local market near the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. At our store, it's usually on the bottom shelf near the oven bags. They are little lifesavers in a box!
Pour 4 quarts of cold water into your slow cooker. Add 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning, 1 Tablespoon kosher salt (I will put less salt next time), 1 diced sweet onion, and 1 whole head of garlic that you've cut in half across its equator (as opposed to it's prime and 180th meridians).
Did I mention I'm going to be teaching a section of Social Studies in addition to Science next year?
I actually cut my garlic along both it's meridians and its equator, then slid it into my Pampered Chef Herb Infuser:
That way, I didn't have to worry about the papery skin getting on everything and I still got all of the delicious garlicky goodness.
Did I mention that I am a Pampered Chef consultant?
So here I am with my broth looking like water and me wondering why in the hell anyone would put 1/4 cup of Old Bay in one dish, but trusting the recipe stars to lead me in the right direction. I cut my 2-1/2 pounds of red potatoes in half (I actually quartered some of the larger ones, but found later that it wasn't necessary). The potatoes went into the broth.
Cook the whole thing on low for about 6 hours. You could probably get by with less time, but this worked for me. After 6 hours, shuck 4 ears of corn and cut each ear into 4 pieces. Throw those in the slow cooker. Now, at this point, I had to remove about a quart of broth because we were almost at overflow. I just spooned it into my huge stock pot and set it in the fridge for later. Cut up 2 pounds of smoked sausage into Low-Country-Boil-size pieces (the recipe suggests 1-1/2 inch pieces). I think you know what to do with it... Throw it in the slow cooker. I turned mine up to high and left it in there while I ran over to the Farmer's Market.
Did I mention that our Farmer's Market sets up on Tuesdays in front of Kmart now? They'll be there for the next 8 weeks!
About an hour later, I was back home and transferred the whole thing from my slow cooker to my huge stock pot, which was now sitting on the stove. I set the burner pretty high so the cold broth could heat, but as soon as it started boiling, I turned the heat down to a low simmer. About 15 minutes before we were ready to eat I added 2 pounds of large shrimp that were in the shell, but deveined. It only took a few minutes--seriously, only about 3 minutes--for the shrimp to turn pink and become opaque.
I used my taster spoon (not a Pampered Chef item) to test the broth. It was very salty. I also wanted a little more of a kick than the Old Bay was giving, so I sprinkled in some Creole seasoning (a Pampered Chef seasoning) and some fresh ground pepper and at the very end, I decided to throw in some Hot Shot, which is a red and black pepper mixture. I don't measure my seasonings very often, so I apologize for the vagueness of that part--if you're in doubt, then add some and taste, add some more and taste, add some more and taste... you get the picture. Speaking of pictures, here's what my taster spoon looks like:
|I got this at Kohl's a few years ago for about $5.|
I took the Herb Infuser out of the pot and set it aside. If you want even more garlicky goodness, you could take the garlic out of the infuser and squeeze the cooked garlic from the hull, then mix it back into the pot before serving. I didn't do that.
I served mine right away, straight from the pot with the broth on it. We LOVED it that way. However, the traditional way to serve a Low Country Boil is to drain the broth off, either with a colander or in a more "authentic" way told to me by my good friend Robb: Set yourself up an old door across a couple of saw horses and pour the whole pot over your make-shift table. Then call everyone with your big ol' dinner bell so they can "Come an' get it!" That sounds amazing to me and it might be the basis of a future party...
So there you have it. This was absolutely one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted! We soaked up the broth with some wheat rolls and ate the rest of it with forks and fingers. Messy tasty fun in a pot!