Sunday, January 26, 2014

Lowcountry Boil

Exhausted from our recent trip up North for the holidays and in desperate need of a quiet evening, the missus and I opted to stay home with the kids rather than venture out on our first New Year's Eve in Florida. Wanting to prepare a nice, yet hearty, dinner for us, I remembered a recipe I'd just seen in the weekend Wall Street Journal a few days before for a Southern stew called lowcountry boil, which I recognized from our frequent travels to the Carolinas. The chef who provided the recipe (Mark Steuer), is a native of Charleston, South Carolina now at the helm of two restaurants in Chicago, neither of which (The Bedford and Carriage House) we were able to visit before the move. One of Chef Steuer's passions is showcasing the cuisine of his home region and this stew does that beautifully, combining the flavors of Spain (andouille sausage), France (fennel), and the Caribbean (cayenne) with a bounty of Atlantic seafood (shrimp and clams). Although my local Publix didn't have the Manila clams (which are actually found in the Pacific Northwest) called for in the instructions, I was able to find Littleneck clams instead and they were more than adequate as a replacement. The stew was easy to prepare and delicious when finished, if not a bit on the spicy side (with all the paprika, cayenne, Old Bay seasoning, and andouille sausage in there, I'll be sure to dial down the heat level next time). If you attempt this dish at home, don't forget to buy a loaf of your favorite country bread to sop up the tasty broth that's left in the bottom of your bowl...

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