Hearty Low Country Corn Chowder is based on a Southern favorite, the Low Country Boil. Low Country Boil was originally known as Frogmore Stew, created by the Richard Gay family of Frogmore, South Carolina. Frogmore was formerly the mailing address for St. Helena Island, SC. After the Post Office eliminated the Frogmore mailing point, the stew picked up the moniker of “low country boil.” Normally, the low country boil is arrayed much like a clambake. This spicy chowder incorporates the main low country boil ingredients consisting of corn, potatoes, sausage, and shrimp. Each heart-warming bite brings a taste of good ol’ Southern country living.
Low Country Corn Chowder Recipe
3 ears of corn on the cob (see Notes), divided use
1 pound spicy smoked sausage such as andouille or kielbasa
1-1/2 to 2 pounds baby red new potatoes or fingerlings, skin-on, scrubbed, and cut in quarters
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups clam juice or seafood broth or a mixture of both
1 pouch crab boil
1 Tablespoon Old Bay® seafood seasoning (or equivalent similar spice blend)
1 pound medium shrimp (41-60 count), peeled and deveined
1 cup heavy cream
Fine-shredded Cheddar cheese and sliced green onions for garnish, optional
Cut the kernels from the corn and set aside. Scrape the milk (see Notes) from the corn cobs and reserve.
Brown the sausage in a large Dutch oven. Slice into bite-sized pieces.
Add the sliced sausage, potatoes, onions, chicken or vegetable broth, clam juice or seafood broth, crab boil, and Old Bay to the Dutch oven. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Remove and discard the crab boil pouch. Remove from heat.
Carefully remove 1 cup of the potatoes and place in a blender along with 1 cup of the broth. Add 1 cup of the uncooked corn kernels and the reserved corn milk. Cover tightly with the lid and pulse until pureed. Place the puree mixture to the pot and return to a simmer.
Add the remaining uncooked cork kernels and shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turns pink and opaque. Stir in heavy cream and return to a simmer. Do not overcook the shrimp. Taste and adjust seasonings. (It is supposed to be spicy, but you can add liquid hot sauce if you like it fiery.)
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with Cheddar and sliced green onions. Serve with cornbread or artisan bread.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
• This soup is supposed to be quite spicy. You can cut down on the heat by omitting the crab boil pouch or the Old Bay® seasoning.
• To get the corn milk, cut the kernels from the corn. Stand the cobs on end and using the back side of the knife, scrape down the sides of the cut corn to get all the liquid (milk) and any remaining little corn bits out.
• Small red rose potatoes may be substituted for the baby reds. Cut them into fourths or eights, depending upon their size.
• Frozen corn may be substituted for the corn on the cob. You will need about 3 cups.
• To hold to tradition, andouille sausage is recommended. However, just about any spicy sausage links will do, even Italian.
• Some versions of low country boil or Frogmore stew include crab. If you feel like splurging, add a can of picked-over crabmeat at the end when adding the cream.
Low Country Corn Chowder Recipe Photo ©2017 Peggy Filippone