M. Andrew Gordon

Just Add…Chouriço

In Appetizers, Seafood on September 21, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Stuffed Quahogs

Stuffed quahogs – “stuffies” in some circles – are a Southeastern Massachusetts delicacy.  Well, delicacy might not be strictly accurate, as most examples of stuffed quahogs leave a lot to be desired.  They are far too often like bad Thanksgiving stuffing, a disappointing and listless mass of soaked bread with far too little clam actually present masquerading for the real thing.  The childhood memory I have of stuffed quahogs made by my grandmother has surely been altered over time as I’ve likely transposed my conviction on what a stuffed quahog should be like to that memory.  But I do recall vividly going quahogging, or clamming if you will, with my brother, father, and grandfather, back when it was okay to ride in the back of a pickup truck.

Over the Labor Day Weekend, Lena and I were staying at her parent’s house on Cape Cod.  Besides gorgeous views and fantastic weather, we ate ridiculously well.  We walked down the water and harvested a bucket of quahogs for clam chowder and the stuffed quahogs, having a decadent feast.  Freshly dug clams aren’t necessary, but it surely doesn’t hurt!

The ideal stuffed quahog should have lots of chopped clam, some large bread crumbs to build the base, sautéed onion and garlic, and chouriço.  Not chorizo or spicy Italian sausage, but chouriço, the Portuguese smoked pork sausage that is redolent with garlic, black pepper, and wine.   The other sausages will do in a pinch, and bacon isn’t a half-bad substitute at all, but if you can find chouriço it is well worth it.

Once you have the ingredients, the only other thing to worry about is the texture.  By saving some of the clam liquor, or clam juice, you can add just the amount needed to make the mixture damp but not wet.  It should be almost like a dough or a crabcake, just damp enough to hold its shape but not too dry or wet that it crumbles apart.

Stuffed Quahogs

Stuffed quahogs before roasting; the filling should glisten but not be sodden

Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 large quahogs
  • 1/3 lb chouriço
  • 1 ½ cups cornbread, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.  Shuck quahogs, reserving liquor.  Or, alternatively, steam quahogs just until they open, let cool, and remove the meat over a bowl, reserving juice.  Strain clam liquor or juice and reserve.  Tear quahog shells into two separate halves.
  2. Melt butter in medium skillet.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook until soft but not browned.
  3. Chop clams.  Mix in onion, garlic, lemon juice and cornbread.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add ¼ cup of the reserved clam juice and mix.  Add juice if necessary.
  4. Spoon mixture into half the quahog shells.  Roast for 12 minutes and broil for one to two minutes to brown the top.  Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce.
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  1. Awesome! Send some my way.

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