Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo

This Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo is easy and delicious…perfect for a weeknight meal!

This Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo is easy and delicious...perfect for a weeknight meal!You guys might remember that I grew up on the cobblestone streets of Charleston, SC.  I sold lemonade to tourists in the summer, and we had a Basset hound named Beauregard.  The house across the street was haunted.  (And I think ours was, too.)  In the early 1700’s, several pirates and their crews were hung in a park just down the street from our house.  Yes, actual pirates.  Needless to say, I had a unique childhood.  It probably explains a lot of things…not the least of which is my love of history as well as Charleston itself.

Among the many unique things about our house was the joggling board.  Have you guys heard of joggling boards?  They’re kinda like a swing and a bench combined into one.  Essentially, joggling boards feature a 16-foot long, flexible board attached to stands on either end that rock like a rocking chair.  The result is a toy/bench/swing that is an iconic fixture on porches and piazzas throughout the South.  According to legend, there was never an unmarried daughter in a home with a joggling board.  As the story goes, suitors would pay visits to young ladies, and both would sit on separate ends of the joggling board.  As they gently bounced on the flexible board, both would gradually slide to the center.  And the rest is history.  (This photo is from our house when I was a kid.  And that’s Dog Charlie right there trying to stay cool in the Charleston heat.)

CharlestonWe also grew up eating lots of iconic Southern food.  Fried shrimp, pimento cheese sandwiches, buttermilk biscuits.  It’s no wonder why I rank Southern food right up there at the top of my list of favorites!  This Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo has earned a permanent spot on that list, and I still make it occasionally.  It’s an easy, one-pot meal that is really darned tasty.

This Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo is easy and delicious...perfect for a weeknight meal!So what is perloo?  Well, let’s start by saying that the ‘lowcountry’ is the coastal area along the southern South Carolina and northern Georgia coasts.  This includes cities like Charleston, SC as well as Savannah, Ga.  Perloo is a classic dish in this area, and there are many, many variations of perloo.  Different versions include shrimp, oysters, chicken, sausage, etc.  Essentially, whatever meat you have on hand can go into perloo.  Add some rice and veggies, and you’ve got yourself a perloo.

This Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo is easy and delicious...perfect for a weeknight meal!I didn’t realize it until I lived in south Louisiana after college, but perloo is quite similar to jambalaya.  In fact, I’ve even thrown a healthy amount of Cajun seasoning into this perloo for flavor.  Have you guys ever noticed how food is similar across various regions and cultures?  I’m not saying all food is exactly the same, but the German dumpling is remarkable similar to the Italian gnocchi.  While the dough is different, you can see obvious parallels between raviolis and pierogis.  Likewise a Cajun jambalaya is not that different from this Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo.  Except the Cajun version would include crawfish.

For this version of Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo, I used shrimp and bacon.  Shrimp because our grocery store had an amazing sale on shrimp the other day.  Bacon because, well, bacon.  Perloo is a classic southern dish, and it’s one of my favorites.  Plus, it makes for a great weeknight meal as it only involves cleaning a pot, a cutting board and a knife.  Enjoy!  (And if you ever come across a joggling board, then hop aboard and joggle on, my friend.)

This Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo is easy and delicious...perfect for a weeknight meal!

This Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo is easy and delicious...perfect for a weeknight meal!

Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo

This Lowcountry Shrimp Perloo is a classic Southern recipe.  It's easy, delicious and perfect for a weeknight meal!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 660kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ pound bacon diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 3 celery stalks diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 cup corn fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • Tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp green onions chopped
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Using a large stockpot (with lid) or Dutch oven, add bacon and place pot over medium heat; cook until bacon is crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and pat dry. Reserve 2 Tbsp of bacon grease in pot.
  • Add onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, or until onions are translucent but not browned.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, rice, corn, stock and Cajun seasoning. Stir and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes (not stirring), or until rice has absorbed most of the liquid and is fully cooked. (Note: If liquid is entirely absorbed at this point, just add another ¼ cup of water to prevent rice from burning while shrimp steams in the next step.)
  • Add shrimp to top of rice. Cover pot and cook over medium-low heat for 5-8 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and fully cooked.
  • Prior to serving, garnish with reserved bacon, freshly chopped parsley and green onions. Add salt to taste. (Note: Cajun seasonings vary greatly, so adjust salt as needed based on the Cajun seasoning you use.)

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28 Comments

  1. Hi David! That picture of your porch is beautiful! I love the joggling bench! And I love cajun/creole/lowcountry cooking!! This definitely does have a Jambalaya ring to it! And I happen to have everything needed to make it! This sounds like supper tonight!

    1. Why thank you so much, Dorothy! I didn’t realize how lucky I was to grow up in Charleston until we moved away…I’d give anything to relive those years now! 🙂 And yes, this perloo does indeed have a jambalaya ring to it…funny that you mention jambalaya because I have a good recipe coming up Wednesday for that one! Hope you guys had a great weekend!!

  2. Pirates? How interesting. Did you ever hunt for hidden treasures? Also, if you happen to have a map with potentially hidden treasures, you can send it to me (No worries – just curious to see it. I’ll send it back). I’ve never tried Perloo, but this combo sounds fantastic (rice, corn, and shrimp…delicious!) I do like Jambalaya and I believe this dish won’t disappoint me. You can send a container along with the map, David:)

    1. I absolutely did go hunting for hidden treasure…quite often! I dig up my backyard more than once, and I found a lot of broken pottery but no real treasure. Then there was the time the city was digging up the street to fix a water pipe. I may or may not have gone digging out there in the evenings when the workers weren’t there! 🙂 Your map is in the mail, Ben…I hope it makes it to you!

  3. I love old porches and haunted houses stories! I have never seen a joggling board before but it looks like fun. I have never tasted perloo either!! Pinned this recipe for later! Great childhood if you asked me!

    1. Joggling boards are a ton of fun. They’re pretty unique, but everyone in Charleston has one on their porch or in their garden. And yes, do try this perloo out sometime, Gaila…it’s super tasty! Thank you! 🙂

    1. I do love Jamaican flavors as well! I haven’t made anything with Jamaican flavors in a while now, so I clearly need to get on that one soon. Thanks so much for commenting!

  4. What a fun childhood! I’ll bet you chased of plenty of pirate ghosts! 🙂 I’ve never heard of a joggling board….but it sure sounds interesting. This shrimp dish also sounds interesting and delicious. I’m all for quick meals for dinner!

    1. Oh, I totally imagined seeing a lot of ghosts! (In fact, there was a time when I actually think I saw something. But then again, I was a kid so now I question whether I was just crazy. But I swear…ugh…that’s a story for another time!) Perloo is a fun and tasty meal, Kathy! Thank you!! 🙂

    1. Why thank you, Kushi! I’m a big fan of shrimp, too. We don’t cook fish at home all that often…but we do make shrimp quite a bit. Totally easy and totally delicious!!

  5. Perloo…Jambalaya…Delicious? I love how the former can be any meat whereas Jambalaya seems to be featuring more on sausage, chicken, and seafood. Oh wait, that’s paella.

    Your childhood literally reminds me of a children’s book that I once read… something British but I cannot remember off the top of my head!

    1. See, you’re totally right! Jambalaya and perloo are definitely related to the Spanish paella. Just with a cajun or lawcountry twist depending on which one you’re talking about. It’s funny how food is often so similar from culture to culture. Take Vegemite and Nutella for instance…another similar one!

      Also, I need you to remember that book please. I’d like to read it. 🙂

    1. I totally did live in a haunted house! Well, I think it was haunted. And my Mom swore that it was haunted. I think every house in downtown Charleston has some extra residents living there with you. 🙂 Thanks, Manali!

    1. Funny that you ask about ghosts, Dawn…because I swear I did indeed see something one time. But now I question whether I was just crazy since I was only like 8 years old at the time. But I swear there was someone standing there!! Anyhoo, this perloo is indeed delicious…and it’s a great weeknight meal, too! Thanks!!

  6. David, this is my first time hearing about a joggling board or a perloo! You make a good point my friend – foods from some areas definitely do have so much in common with foods from other areas – I know Sri Lankan’Indian Roti/Chappati is very similar to Ethiopian Injera!
    This seriously is one fantastic combo – I mean bacon+shrimp=winner winner of a perloo dinner!

    1. Perloo is a super fun recipe, Shashi…in fact, it’s one of our favorites! Well, I group jambalaya and perloo and even Hoppin John into the same category. They’re all essentially rice and meat with various flavor adders like onions and bell peppers. No matter what you call it, it’s delicious! 🙂 Hope you and lil Shashi had a great weekend!

    1. I still can’t believe I grew up in such a historic home/area…we went back and visited that home a couple of years ago, and it felt totally surreal! Thanks so much, Ashley! 🙂

    1. Yup, Charleston was my home all the way up until high school! (Well, I was born in Texas, but we left there when I was still really young.) What I wouldn’t give to go back to Charleston for work. Need an assistant next time you go, Nicole?? 🙂

  7. We ate a spicy chicken version from my neck of the woods in the Pee Dee region. We didn’t call it perloo, but chicken bog. I know, weird name, but very tasty. Your shrimp version looks really good and I love all of the flavors incorporated into it!

    1. Ah yes, chicken bog! I totally thought about calling this one bog, but then I figured the name sounded strange enough as just ‘perloo’. 🙂 I’m thinking spicy chicken would be a great addition here! The shrimp is pretty darn tasty, too…and I love how quickly the shrimp cooks. Means you can totally pull this one off on a weeknight. Thanks, Tamara!!

  8. Thank you so much for posting. My father’s family (who are originally from Savannah, GA), always made this dish, at family gatherings, growing up. I’ve been searching for a good replica of the recipe lately and this is the closest version I have found, to what we made. Delicious & one of a kind!

    1. Hey there, Rebecca! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving this comment. As with most Southern dishes (and most dishes in general), there is a lot of leeway with how the recipe comes together. This one is certainly a favorite around here…and I’m really glad that you enjoy it. I appreciate you stopping by my site! Cheers!

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