Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Party's At Mr. C's Place

Some time ago in one of my posts I mentioned a low-country dish that's been a family staple for generations here in Baja Georgia, shrimp perlow. Now I've always spelled it perlow but some know-it-alls think it should be pelou or some such other foreign name from Nawleans. But us Crackers call it perlow, or maybe perloe. Either way, JadedJ picked up on it, as Baja Georgia is his original turf, and said just thinking about it made his mouth water. Since the Peach Tart and Mr. Condescending have had dinner parties lately, I thought that sounded like a good idea and I would to, with a recipe right out of the family cookbook. We'll have a cooler of iced-down beer, plenty of sweet tea, and a little white lightnin and weed. That oughta git us off on the right foot. Gonna invite some of my musician buddies over so the music will be live and will range from bluegrass to jazzgrass to blues and will be a jam, no sets. Anybody can pick up some spoons or whatever and join in. It's a joyful noise. We'll mostly hang on the porch and deck. For appetizers I'll steam some oysters and have plenty of soda crackers, cocktail sauce and red devil to spice things up. No paper plates though. We got some class afterall. We'll use the good plastic. But real silverware... and fine linen napkins right off the roll of Bounty. Now there's two very important things to remember in making a killer perlow; first, you must use a heavy pot. A cast iron Dutch oven is best. Second, keep it simple stupid. Beauty is in the sublime. More people screw up things like perlow, gumbo and jambalaya by trying to make them "nuveau" than any other single cause. This is peasant food and trying to make it fancy will ruin it bigger'n shit. Now a perlow is simply a rice based dish. You can pretty much put any kind of meat in it, but the kind of meat determines how you cook it. With a short rib perlow, either beef or pork, you braze the meat first until it's good and seared before adding the other ingredients. You want the flavor of the sear but you also want the meat to fall off of the bone. Shrimp is different, as you'll see. Ingredients you will need: Shrimp, salt pork, onions (yellow are fine), garlic (2 cloves), and rice (I like basmati but Uncle Ben's works just fine). That's it. You can add some bell pepper or a little cilantro if you like, and, of course, salt and pepper, but be very careful of the salt as that's what the salt pork is for. And finally, a touch of cayenne pepper and a healthy splash of Pickapeppa sauce. If you don't have, or can't find, Pickapeppa, a dash of liquid smoke will do, but be sure you get pure liquid smoke with no additives and it only takes a dash. Cut the skin and most of the fat off of the salt pork and dice it into small pieces. You only need a cup or so. Cook it until it's real crispy. Pour off the grease. (I cook mine in the microwave as it comes out nearly greaseless.) Dice the onion and garlic and throw it in the pot with the salt pork. Add the Pickapeppa and cayenne and enough water for the amount of rice and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice and cook it over low heat. When the rice is done, stir in the shrimp (peeled of course) and let the heat of the rice cook it for about 5-10 minutes. (Boil the shells and the heads and use the broth in the perlow for an extra kick.) Ooooweeee, that's good. Don't really need a side dish but a salad or corn on the cob complement it well. And a good bread if you like. Cornbread would be the country choice but I prefer a baguette. When you're finished eatin, get ready to shake a tail feather cause the music's just gettin started. Ya'll come back now, heah.


  1. We can have second helpin' can't we? i"m sure your have a place for me to crash, afterwards.

  2. "soda crackers, cocktail sauce and"

    Are you sure that cock tail sauce is a good thing to have around when the peach tart comes to visit? You do know she's never had herself any of that home brew and she just went to Brazil?

    Where as I on the other hand will be more than happy to eat your food drink your booze and two step like a drunken Scotsman.

  3. Mr. Charleston, I am in for the party. Oysters omg the food of the Gods. Shrimp perlow, one of my favorite foods, the moonshine, the weed, getting to play music. Hey I might even dance.

    the walking man cracks me up.

    I really wish I could meet all you guys.

  4. I forgive you for posting those photos on your last post and making me homesick...but this...this is...cruel.

    YOU, knowing that I am stuck out here on the plain Plains unable to get on a plane for the perloe party, oysters and doings. That's right, stuck out here eatin' blood sausage and runzas, aka, Kraut Pirok...stick that in your hat and look it up, bitte!

  5. RYC: "... and he's 24!"

    Oh Lord, just shoot me NOW. I have a feelin' that this last child o' mine is gonna be the pits. L-A-Z-Y, with a capital L, spells it ALL.

    But to be honest, I know whatcha mean. I've gotta 37 y.o. daughter (who, bless her dear heart cuz she's NO trouble at all 'n lives far far away down in VA) & a 35 y.o. son (who, thank GOD...'n I know this is gonna sound harsh but at least Momma can breathe easily 'n can rest in peace...is locked up at the moment (AGAIN).

    Hmmmm, there's another long story for my blog, huh?

    So for me to say "been there done that" is quite an understatement.

    But its always them BOYZ who cause ya to tear all yer hair out 'n who make ya wanna grab 'em by the neck 'n just squeeeeeeeeeze. Nice 'n hard, too.

  6. Thanks to everyone for coming to my party. Ya'll can have all the helpings you want and I can't wait to see Walking Man two step. Peach darlin', you are getting to know us boys, and we're getting to know more about you than you ought to share, even if we do love it.

    JJ, I put that recipe in there just for you, knowing how much you love it and all. Surely you can get some fresh shrimp out there on the prairie. If not, make some short rib perlow. Mighty mighty pleasin'.

    For all of you wondering, DonnaJean is responding to my comment on her post about worthless kids. Ditto Donna.

  7. I should hasten to add that my two, er... make that one of my girls is perfect. One's slippin and slidin. My wife's kid, good boy and all, but worthless. Doesn't get in any trouble, just doesn't do anything, if you know what I mean.

  8. C - Here, the one and only seafood restaurant, Red Lobster, is considered gourmet dining. Fresh shrimp at the grocers is of the frozen, springy rubber type.

    I do indeed make my own perloe with pork, of which there seems to be an abundance. Pigs, cattle and corn...if it has fins, don't eat it.

    BTW-didn't mean to sound unappreciative...just envious.


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