Your Slow Cooker is the Secret to a Low-Maintenance Seafood Boil

Anyone who has experienced a seafood boil knows that it is an elaborate feast, often served enthusiastically on paper-covered communal tables. Also known as Lowcountry Boil, Beaufort Boil, or Frogmore Stew, this is a briny, stacked treasure hunt where eating with your hands is encouraged. The components of the seafood boil vary by region, but always involve some of the following sea creatures: crawfish, shrimp, lobsters, clams or crabs. Other must-haves include corn on the cob, baby red potatoes and sausage, preferably Louisiana-style andouille. This complicated affair involves huge pots of boiling water, impeccable timing and constant monitoring of the pot.

What if there was an easier way to achieve the same deliciousness without intervention? We’re talking a big seafood boil straight out of a slow cooker. That’s right, it’s the big ceramic countertop appliance that Grandma called the Crock-Pot, the original slow cooker that entered home kitchens in the 1950s and gained popularity in the 1970s. Boil fruit Seafood without boiling or steaming them may require flipping a switch in your brain, but it’s worth a try.

The benefits are numerous when you transfer your seafood feast from a boiling pot to a soft, warm slow cooker. The main advantage is that it virtually cooks itself, with little or no intervention from you. Simply add the ingredients, choose the heat level, and wait for those seaside aromas to emerge. There are just a few considerations when positioning foods or holding fast-cooking seafood until last.

Read more: 15 Different Ways to Cook Fish

Slow-cook a seafood boil for hands-off convenience

Boiled shrimp on the table – Bhofack2/Getty Images

To get started, you’ll need a slow cooker large enough to accommodate all of those shellfish. A standard large five- to six-quart casserole dish can typically hold about six servings, while larger seafood, such as lobsters, may require an extra-large casserole dish with a capacity of up to 10 quarts.

Preparing ingredients for boiling seafood is the same for a slow cooker, but you’ll save a lot of stress and effort by placing them directly in the slow cooker. Boiling seafood this way takes more cooking time, about four to five hours, compared to about 30 minutes to boil it in a pot. But you’re free to focus on other things while the slow cooker works its magic. This also solves the problem of keeping everything warm while diners gather; simply turn the dial to the “warm” setting.

To avoid overcooked seafood or undercooked potatoes, a great approach is to layer ingredients inside the slow cooker. Place the slow-cooking potatoes first, followed by the corn, slices of andouille sausage, chopped garlic and seasonings. Add water to cover, put on low heat and check for cooking as it approaches four hours. This is when you will add the unshelled seafood, which generally requires less than 15 minutes of cooking. Then break out the bibs, lemon slices, hot sauce and an Old Bay table shaker and dig into the deliciousness.

Read the original article on the tasting table.

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