BLOCK ISLAND STUFFIES

BLOCK ISLAND STUFFIES

20 large cherrystone clams

1 bottle beer

1 lb. bacon

1 small loaf Italian or Ciabatta bread, day old (about 4 cups 1/2” cubed breadcrumbs)

3 Tbs. olive oil

1 ¼ sticks butter

2 medium onions, chopped

5 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 jalapenos, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

½ lb. chorizo links, pre-cooked and chopped into 1/2” dice

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. black pepper

2 lbs. fresh chopped clams

2 Tbs. fresh thyme, chopped

1/3 cup fresh parsley,

2 cups Italian flavored breadcrumbs

30 Ritz crackers, crushed

2 cups grated parmesan cheese

2 cups frozen corn, thawed (or fresh, lightly steamed and removed from cob)

2 lemons, juiced (about ½ cup)

 

In a large shallow pot, in one layer, over medium high heat, steam the clams in beer until just opened (cover the pot and vent slightly to avoid boiling over).  Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve and set aside.  Remove clam meats from the shells and line empty shells up on a baking sheet covered with tinfoil.   Rough chop clam meats in a food processor and set aside.

 

Arrange the bacon on a foil covered sheet and bake at 425 for 15 minutes until crisp.  Do not discard the bacon fat.  Chop the bacon and set aside.  Cut the bread into ½” cubes and spread out on the baking sheet with bacon grease.  Toss to coat with the grease and toast in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes until lightly toasted.  Place in a large bowl and set aside

 

In a large skillet with sides heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat.  Sauté the onions, garlic, and jalapenos and cook for 5 minutes more until the onions are translucent and fragrant.  Add red and green peppers, red pepper flakes and black pepper to the skillet.  Cook for another 7-10 minutes until peppers are tender.  Add chorizo and cook for another 5 minutes until veggies begin to lightly brown and caramelize.  Remove from heat and add to the bowl with bread pieces. 

 

Add chopped clams (both from the shells and the additional pound), thyme, parsley, Italian breadcrumbs, crushed Ritz, Parmesan, corn and lemon juice to the bowl and mix well. Add as much of the reserved cooking liquid as needed to create a moist, but not wet, stuffing that holds together nicely.  Fill each shell with a mound of stuffing and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until hot and lightly browned and crusty on top.  Drizzle and garnish with more lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

This recipe makes 40 large stuffies!  It can be halved, but these are also a great freezer item.  Freeze before baking on a cookie sheet and when hard, place in ziplock bags and pull out as needed.  Just defrost and bake!  

 

This recipe won first place in the 2015 Block Island Stuffies Contest and first place in the Newport Irish American Club Stuffie Smack-down in 2018!

 

I also use this recipe to make ‘bite-size’ stuffies with littlenecks.  This makes a great appetizer and you can make them ahead and freeze them to use as needed!

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