During the last clam bake season, I became aware of a delicious way to prepare clams. Also know as “stuffies” these clams are filled with a savory clam and chorizo filling and topped with a crunchy Old Bay breading.
Plus they are totally portable, which makes them an ideal appetizer for any kind of gathering; from a swanky party to a tailgate.
The clams first have to be cooked and shucked. You’ll be using the cleaned halves of shell to serve the filling, so I always give the shells an extra good scrubbing before tossing them into a pot of boiling water to cook. It’s also important to keep a few tablespoons of the water that the clams cooked in, otherwise referred to in this recipe as “clam juice.”
Once the clams have been removed from their shelled, they’ll get pulsed up in a food processor along with some cooked spicy chorizo. You want a nice thick filling that still has a bit of texture, so take care not to over process.
From there, I sauteed up some onions and red and green peppers. Once the veggies were nice and soft, the chorizo and clam mixture can be added to the skillet along with some corn, minced garlic and a dash of Old Bay seasoning.
Bread crumbs can be used to bind the filling together, as necessary. To fill each half shell, I scooped a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and pressed it in gently to secure it to the shell.
The crunchy topping is made from breadcrumbs mixed with butter and Old Bay seasoning and can be generously sprinkles across the tops of all the stuffed clams.
My boyfriend said he would have liked a “crust free” option, so next time, I’ll definitely leave a few bare tops.
The stuffies only need baked long enough to achieve a crispy golden breading on top – and if you make them a day ahead of time, only long enough to reheat all the way through.
Stuffies are popular in New England and after making this recipe, I’m dead set to get out there and try the real deal for myself!
Stuffed quahogs, or large stuffed clams, are savory with a hint of sweet and are the perfect addition to any party. One bite that delivers a burst of flavor!
New England Clam Stuffies
- 40 live large clams or quahogs scrubbed clean
- 8 oz spicy chorizo
- ½ cup onion finely chopped
- ¼ cup red & green bell peppers chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon reserved clam juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup + 3 tablespoons butter melted, separated
- 4 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs or panko
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a large pot filled with boiling water, cook the clams until they have opened, about 10-12 minutes. Discard any that do not open. Use a butter knife to shuck the clams from their shells. Set the clam meat in one bowl and the shells in another. Reserve about one tablespoon of the clam juice (water).
- Using a large skillet over high heat, cook and crumble the chorizo until browned. Place the cooked chorizo along with the clam meat into a food processor. Wipe the skillet clean. Pulse the chorizo and clams in the food processor several times, until there's a consistent thickness with few whole clams and large lumps.
- Place three tablespoons of butter into the cleaned skillet. Saute the onions until they are just beginning to caramelize then add the chopped peppers. Saute until softened.
- Add the chorizo and clam mixture to the skillet. Stir well to combine then add the minced garlic, clam juice, lemon, and 2 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning. Add 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs to the skillet, plus more as necessary if the mixture is still too wet. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Break the clam shells at their hinges. Press a tablespoon of the clam mixture into each half shell. Arrange on a large baking sheet in a single layer.
- In a small bowl, melt the remaining butter and whisk in the rest of the bread crumbs and Old Bay seasoning. Sprinkle the breading over the clams, as desired. Bake for 5-10 minutes, watching closely, until the breading is golden brown and crispy. Serve hot or cool to room temperature. Enjoy!