The weather is finally warming up in Pittsburgh with temperatures reaching the high 50s. I know in some parts of the country – I’m talking to you Arizona – that’s not a stretch. For the mid-Atlantic region, it’s a call for a celebration.
March is also that in-between time of the year when it’s a little too cold to fire up the grill and soup is starting to feel like last season’s handbag. This is when I turn to my trusty All Clad Slow Cooker for support. It’s the perfect device for preparing recipes that crossover between seasons.
My usual everyday cooking often includes chicken in some form or another. I’m not sure why that happens except that it’s easy. I like that I can chop up a couple of breasts, sauté or roast, and toss them into whatever I’ve got cooking. There are times when I turn to turkey kielbasa, such as Hillshire Farms, when I’m tired eating chicken. Since the sausage is already smoked, I can make a weeknight meal pretty quickly.
I was inspired one Sunday afternoon to do a low country boil. While typically a summertime activity, the ingredients cook nicely together in a slow cooker. For this recipe, I threw my vegetables in the pot and let them cook while I ran errands. Then I added the shrimp and kielbasa. By the time the shrimp were cooked and the smokiness of the sausage melded into the cooking liquid, I had half of my apartment cleaned.
In a typical low country boil, the pot is drained and the meal is dumped onto newspaper. I instead drained, saving some of the liquid and dumped everything into a white baking dish. To complement the meal, I sliced crusty French bread into thick chunks and slathered them with butter. A few minutes under the broiler and they were ready soaking up all those wonderful juices.
Slow Cooker Low Country Boil
5 cups water
1 (12 oz.) bottle beer (I used Yuengling)
4 bay leaves
3 Tbl. Old Bay seasoning
1.5 lbs. (about 10) small red potatoes
3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, cut into quarters
3-4 garlic cloves
1 bag (12 mini ears) frozen corn on the cob
2 lemons, cut in half
1 lbs. Hillshire Farms turkey kielbasa
2 lbs. uncooked large shrimp in shells, deveined and thawed if frozen
In a large 6 or 7-quart slow cooker, add the water, beer, bay leaves and Old Bay. Stir until combined.
Cut the potatoes into smaller chunks if they are large. Add the potatoes, celery, onion, corn and garlic to the mixture. Squeeze the lemons over the top, preventing the seeds from falling in. Add the squeezed halves to the pot.
Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Try not to lift the lid during this time.
Increase the temperature to high. Add the shrimp and kielbasa to the pot. Carefully stir until combined.
Cover and cook for an additional 40 minutes to an hour, or until the shrimp has turned pink.
Drain the mixture into a large rimmed dish. Save some of the liquid for dipping crusty bread.