A beautiful platter of Homemade Rhode Island Clam Stuffies.
One of the best things about being married to a guy from Rhode Island is the FOOD! First thing we do on a trip to Carolina is make a pit stop at Charlestown Mini-Super to check out the fresh oysters, clams and flounder and grab a few packs of frozen “gourmet stuffies” made is some mysterious stuffie factory in Massachusetts. Who cares. This one brand that doesn’t seem to have a name other than “gourmet” is quite good with an acceptable clam to stuffing ratio. Yes, we’ve noticed the clam shells have diminished in size over the years. Luckily, R.B. saved a drawerful of big quahog shells from our years of stuffie consumption and now we make them as clamy and big as we like.
It’s easy. All you do is make a very traditional bread stuffing with lots of fresh clams and their juice. We use toasted Italian bread cubes and sometimes add bits of Portuguese chourico. Just like the “gourmets” from the Mini-Super, they freeze beautifully in plastic freezer bags. Two per quart bag makes a convenient treat heated up in the toaster oven for cocktail hour. There’s no better way to end a day in Rhode Island than a hot stuffie with a glass of cold crisp Italian white.
Here’s a link to our New England Clam Stuffie Dressing. Consider this for Thanksgiving!
Rhode Island Clam Stuffies
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color you like)
1/2 cup bacon drippings, olive oil or butter or a combination
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds chopped fresh clams with their juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
4 to 6 cups dry or toasted Italian bread cubes
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the celery, onion and bell pepper in the drippings in a large Dutch oven over medium low heat until very tender, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Add the garlic during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat and stir in the clams and lemon juice. Blend in the bread cubes using enough to make a sturdy moist dressing that isn’t too loose or mushy. Stir in the parsley. Sprinkle lighty with salt. Add a generous amount of pepper. Mound the stuffing into large clam shells, greased ramekins or a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 375 until heated through (internal temperature of 165) and well-browned and crusty on the top, 30 45 minutes. Baking time depends on the size of the cooking vessel. Serve hot with lemon wedges and hot sauce if you like. Makes about 16 stuffies.
Note: Add 1 cup of finely chopped cooked Portuguese chourico to the stuffing. Stuffies in clam shells freeze well. Thaw in the refrigerator or microwave before baking.