Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Good Ol’ Cajun Shrimp Boil

When the weather starts getting warm down in Louisiana, it’s time to break out the 10-gallon boiler pot and fire up the outdoor burner:

FLAME ON! [Don’t try this at home.]
Well, you can try a boil at home, but just use caution if you’re using an outdoor flame boiler…or if your hand spontaneously combusts.

For my husband & I’s first wedding anniversary, I decided it was high time to bust into the new potatoes I’ve been growing in my garden:

I was hoping to have “hundreds of potatoes” based on the promises of this Pinterest project, however, this is the entirety of my haul.  Apparently, only certain types of potatoes grow well using the barrel method…and apparently, I didn’t plant any of those types.  But here’s what I have!  A large-ish bowl of some lovely lil’ potatoes.

And I dunno about you, but my absolute FAVORITE way to eat new potatoes is in a crawfish boil.  However, I’m in Missouri, and I has no crawfish.

But I DO have shrimp (frozen, but domestic), and delicious Missouri-grown sweet corn.


(Image pilfered from the interwebz.  I do not own a crawfish pot or an outdoor burner.  Nor to I regularly stir my food with lumber.)

I typically use either theZatarain's dry mix, or the concentrated oil; however, I found this spice bag at a thrift store, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.  


If you’re on a sodium restriction, you should use the bag or the oil, as the dry mix is primarily made of salt.  With the oil & the bag you control how much salt & how much cayenne you add.
Since we’re not making a big batch, we don’t need a huge boil pot or an outdoor burner.  I just use a big sauce pot & my stovetop.

1 lb shrimp, thawed or fresh (I prefer heads removed & deveined but with the rest of the shell on)
4 ears corn, cut in half
One big pile o’ tiny potatoes (probably about 3-4 cups worth)
1 bag crab boil
2-3 tbsp Cajun seasoning
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
Other optional items: fresh mushrooms (washed & halved), lemons (halved), onions (halved or whole if small)

Fill your pot 1/2-2/3 way with water, add your seasoning bag, corn, potatoes, seasonings, and other Optional items to the pot, and bring to a boil.


Once boiling, lower the heat to medium until the potatoes are close to done (can pierce with a fork, but not easily or doesn’t go all the way in [that’s what she said]) and then add in your shrimp.  The shrimp should cook in just a few minutes, and you don’t want to overcook them.
Then drain the pot, and serve the goods in a 9x13 pan for communal eating (learning to share is important!)

(I wanted to line the pan with newspaper for a more authentic look, but we just took all the papers to the recycling center.  Lesson learned.)

Feel free to shake on a little extra Cajun seasoning if needed (never necessary if you use the bag mix—you’ll be lucky to get that stuff off your fingers):

(My friend Em, at a crawfish boil circa 2007.  Dem’s sum dirty hands. But a super awesome person.)

And whatever you do…please…for the love of all that’s holy…DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES.  Unless you hate yourself and your eyes and feel like you need a good cry.  Capsacin & eyeballs DO NOT MIX.

In the words of my friend JoJo, once you’re done eating, “Wash your d*mn dirty hands.”

Makes four moderate servings, or two big servings.  NutriFacts are based on 4 servings.

Calories 309.6
  Total Fat 2.3 g
  Saturated Fat 0.5 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
  Cholesterol 221.0 mg
  Sodium 667.4 mg
  Potassium 449.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 69.1 g
  Dietary Fiber 10.4 g
  Sugars 2.9 g
  Protein 30.6 g


  1. I love this dish! I've made the one from Paula Deen's cookbook that calls for smoked sausage as well ... but it's the shrimp and potatoes that do it for me! I'm hungry ...

  2. I do love a boil where sausage is served as well! Alas, we had none on hand.