I just returned from my first pheasant hunting opener since October 2007, and along with some great field opportunities came another wonderful meal prepared by Earl Seeba of Fergus Falls, Minn.
Earl was the guest of Mike Liane, my former hunting partner and co-owner of a house we owned together in Westby, Mont. Earl, who is mechanic by trade, could easily make a living as a cook if the meals he cooked this past weekend were any indication.
On Saturday night, he fixed something he calls a â€œdump meal.â€ For Louisianans or those with a Bayou connection, no further explanation is necessary, since seafood and vegetable boils of this type are as commonplace as lutefisk or Swedish meatball dinners in the Midwest.
But for the rest of you, basically, the procedure is to start with a boiling pot of water and then add vegetables (potatoes, onions, peppers, corn on the cob), hot sausage, seafood (crawfish and shrimp or prawns) and a seasoning bag (Old Bay Shrimp and Crab boil).
Items are added at intervals. Foods that require a longer cooking time (potatoes) are put in first, followed by the ones that take less (corn and shrimp).
You can personalize your boil by adding favorites such as freshly squeezed lemons, artichokes, mushrooms, even broccoli. It even can be vegetarian.
Once everything is done, the water is drained and the food is â€œdumpedâ€ onto a table covered with newspapers, to be served with bowls of melted butter and crunchy hard rolls. Participants then are encouraged to dig.
I first had Earlâ€™s dump meal in 2007, and this yearâ€™s version was just as good as the initial one. The only thing different this time is that we used plates instead of newspapers. Thanks again, Earl.
If you care to try something such as this, hereâ€™s an original recipe from Old Bay that will do the trick.
Old Bay Shrimp Boil
Â½ cup Old Bay Seasoning
2 tablespoons salt
4 quarts water
1 12- ounce can beer
8 medium red potatoes, cut in quarters
2 large Vidalia or other sweet onions, cut in wedges
2 pounds smoked sausage, cut in 2-inch lengths
8 ears frozen corn on the cob, thawed
4 pounds large shrimp, in shells
In an 8-quart stock pot, bring Old Bay, salt, water and beer to a boil. Add potatoes and onions; cook over high heat for 8 minutes. Add smoked sausage; continue to cook on high for 5 minutes. Add corn to pot; continue to boil for 7 minutes. Add shrimp in shells, cook for 4 minutes. Drain cookin liquid; pour contents of pot into several large bowl or shallow pails. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay.
Yield: Serves 8.