Major League Cocktail Hour

There are few pairings as perfect as baseball and peanuts. And we’ll be enjoying both on Sunday night, when we watch the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in the opening game of this year’s season.

But this special occasion warrants something more than just a regular old bag of goobers. So we turned to our resident legume experts, James Beard Award-winning authors Matt and Ted Lee, for a little help.

The brothers naturally shared with us the recipe for their signature dish, boiled peanuts. It’s featured in their brand-new book The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen. (We’re already big fans of their Hot-Spiced Bourbon Balls.) For more than a century, people across the South have been boiling raw peanuts in a salty brine, transforming the humble snack into a delicious savory treat and arguably the ideal bar food.

And what should you drink with your boiled peanuts? While beer works, we recommend the Lees’ Moonshine Martini, which combines white corn whiskey with Madeira, sherry or dry vermouth. It’s finished with a pinch of salt and, of course, three boiled peanuts.

So this week, cook up a pot of boiled peanuts and just before the first pitch, shake up a Moonshine Martini. Then join us in raising a glass to the new season. Now let’s play some ball!

Boiled Peanuts

Contributed by Matt and Ted Lee

  • 1.5 cups Salt, plus more if needed
  • 2 lb Dried raw peanuts or 3 lb green peanuts (fresh raw peanuts)

Stir together 2 gallons of water and .5 cup of the salt in a large stockpot until the salt dissolves. Add the peanuts and top with a dinner plate to submerge any that float. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. (Skip this step if using green peanuts.)
Drain the peanuts and refill the stockpot with 2 gallons of fresh water. Add the remaining 1 cup of salt. Note the water level and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 hours (2 to 3 hours for green peanuts) or until the peanuts are as soft as a roasted chestnut or softer. Add more water when the level falls more than an inch or so below the beginning level. After 3 hours (1 hour for green peanuts), remove a peanut, let cool, shell and taste for doneness and salt level. If the peanuts need more salt, add .25 cup at a time. If they are too salty, remove a portion of the cooking liquid and replace with an equal volume of fresh water. Repeat every hour until the peanuts are done.
When the peanuts have cooked completely, turn off the heat and let cool for 1 hour (30 minutes for green peanuts). Drain, and eat immediately or store in the shells in a sealed container for up to 10 days in the refrigerator or several months in the freezer.

Moonshine Martini

Contributed by Matt and Ted Lee

  • 2 oz Unaged corn whiskey
  • 1 tsp Dry Madeira, sherry or vermouth
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt
  • Garnish: Boiled peanuts
  • Glass: Martini

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with 3 boiled peanuts.

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