Stuffies are Vintage Rhode Island food.
Quahog Clam Stuffing is to Rhode Island what Meat Loaf is to Iowa. Stuffies came into being in order to stretch 2 servings of clams into enough food for 6 people (and using up yesterday’s stale bread is also clever).
If you live on the coast and your supermarket sells Quahogs, you can make stuffies with whole, live clams.
Stuffies for 6: This recipe uses canned clams.
- 1 (6.5 ounce) can of chopped clams in clam juice (drain clams and reserve juice)
- 6 ounces tiny raw peeled and deveined shrimp (or use larger shrimp and chop them up)
- 3 ounces chopped or crumbled raw sausage (whatever kind you like–Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sausage; Italian sausage; or the amazingly fabulous chorizo my chef husband makes from scratch, but of course you’d have to be in my kitchen if you want to go with the chorizo option)
- 1/3 cup each of chopped onion, celery and green pepper (that makes 1 cup total of chopped veggies)
- 1 large clove chopped garlic
- 1-1/2 cups of homemade bread crumbs (or use Panko, which is not quite as good, but good enough)
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese (or some of each)
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- scant quarter cup of dry white wine
- a good sprinkle of all purpose seasoning such as Lawry’s or the amazingly fabulous secret magic blend my chef husband always keeps us supplied with (why don’t you just come to my place and let me make stuffies for you?)
- as much black pepper as you and your co-eaters can tolerate
- 2 tablespoons butter (that’s 6 teaspoons)
- In a medium frying pan, brown sausage then stir in onion, green pepper and celery until vegetables are wilted. Add shrimp and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, sprinkle generously with all-purpose seasoning and a healthy dash of black pepper and fry for another 30 seconds. Frying the spices, especially the pepper, makes the flavor pop! Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl, stir together the vegetable-meat-shrimp mixture, chopped clams, grated cheese, bread crumbs, and parsley. Moisten the mixture with enough of the reserved clam liquid and a splash of dry white wine to make it feel like dressing–not soupy, just moist enough to hold together if you smoosh it (but don’t smoosh it yet).
- Divide the dressing into six portions and mound each portion into the bottom of a large clam shell, or individual baking dish. Smoosh each mound a little bit to pack the stuffie into nice roundish form.
- Top each with a teaspoon-sized pat of butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes until heated through. Remove foil and broil for a couple minutes (watch carefully) to give your stuffies a bit of crunchy crust.
Serve stuffies as a first course at a Vintage Rhode Island Supper Party, with a dry white wine or cava, or a refreshing hoppy beer.
Vintage Rhode Island Supper Party menu: 1st course–Stuffies; Main course–Spaghetti and meatballs; Dessert–Frozen Lemonade.
When and where have you eaten stuffies? What’s your favorite vintage food?