A Lowcountry boil recipe that feeds a crowd! With andouille sausage, blue crab, shrimp and a mess of vegetables, this dish has something for everyone.
Heat the 16 quart pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, and when it’s hot, add sausage. Sear sausage on each side for about 3 minutes. Remove cooked sausage to a bowl, cover, and set in fridge.
With heat still on, add chilies and cook for about 1 minute. Next, add onions and celery; cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.
Add 2 cups of broth to pot and use a large wooden spoon to stir and loosen the brown bits from bottom of the pot. Next, add sea salt, spices, and all remaining stock. Bring stew to a boil, and then turn heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. If making stew the night before, off the heat, cool for a few minutes, and carefully set pot (on top of lots of hot pads) in the fridge.
The next day, set out your pot and bring stew to a boil. While it comes up to temperature, rinse crabs under running water (they’re pretty muddy). If any have died in transport, discard.
Once water is boiling, add crabs 2 at a time to the pot, submerging them immediately, and cook until they are red, about 2 - 3 minutes. Then remove each pair and cook the next two until you’ve cooked all twelve. Set cooked crabs on a large rimmed baking sheet. Once the crabs have cooked, edge heat down to medium high.
When crabs are cool enough to handle, flip them so they are bottom side up and find the part of their undershell that looks like a tab. Pull this back and pry top shell off.
Clean away feathery gills and discard. Using cleaver or kitchen knife, cut off the eyes and mouth of the crab, then cut them in half down the middle. Throw both halves into the stew, adding each crab as it’s ready.
With heat still on medium-high, add potatoes, and cook 10 minutes. Check salt levels and add more if needed.
Next, add all of the canned whole tomatoes, crushing each with your hand as you go, corn, and reserved sausage (be sure to include any juices or fat from the bowl). Once mixture is bubbling, edge heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, 15 - 20 minutes, or until potatoes are just tender.
Just before you are ready to sit down, stir shrimp into stew, and cook until they're pink, about 3 minutes, and then off the heat. Stir in apple cider vinegar and lemon slices.
Keep in mind that, owing to the crabs, the very bottom of this cauldron is likely to be sandy, so you’ll want to avoid tipping sand out onto the food. For ease, we ladled the stew into big bowls and platters, and scattered them around the large table family style. Our stew was served with brown rice, though no one really touched it.