How to Make a Simple Portuguese Clam Stew

Seafood Soups

This simple Portuguese clam stew recipe is a much simpler adaptation of a more traditional Portuguese clam stew, especially great when you’re short on time and/or ingredients. Nevertheless, despite its simplicity, it bursts with flavors of both the land and sea.

It’s also a lot easier to make than some of the more well-known Portuguese seafood stews such as Caldeirada (a fish stew), mariscada (a shellfish stew), Shrimp Mozambique (a shrimp stew), Portuguese-style paellas, or any of the variety of spicy stews are almost indescribably delicious. They are all fantastic but can be intimidating to make at home, especially if you’re new to Portuguese cuisine.

How to Make Portuguese Clam Stew

It’s so easy I can detail it in one paragraph:

Chourico is first simmered with onions, green peppers, and garlic. Whole littleneck clams are then added, which release their briny, fragrant juices of the sea. The broth is seasoned with white wine, cumin, cilantro, and lime juice, to further enliven the taste buds. It all comes together in 15 minutes or less!

What is chourico and where do I find it?

Chourico (pronounced sho-ree-soo) is the one ingredient that may be unfamiliar. It’s the key to the whole recipe because it infuses the stew with a smoky and zesty flavor.

Chourico is a classic dry Portuguese smoked sausage made with garlic, paprika, and other spices. It is full of flavor, juicy, and moderately spicy (but not overpowering). It is probably Portugal’s most popular sausage, which is saying a lot because there are many varieties of Portuguese sausages.

You can often find some versions of it in the cured meats section of supermarkets. But these are often highly processed products. Your best option is a specialty Portuguese or Spanish market. But that may not be available in your area.

Portuguese chourico sausage

In that case, if you can’t find chourico in stores, it’s fine to substitute Spanish-style chorizo, a closely related dried sausage.

You could also substitute linguica, a milder Portuguese sausage compared to chourico.

If you’re a foodie like myself, check out this article on the differences between chourico, chorizo, and linguica.

Finally, for those of you that may be connoisseurs of Portuguese cuisine, I realize lime juice is not a typical Portuguese ingredient. But I found a squeeze of lime to be the perfect finishing touch to brighten the stew and bring out a little pop of acidic sweetness. My affinity for Southeast Asian cuisine with its liberal use of lime juice in soups and stews inclined me to try it. Personally, I loved it.

More Seafood Stew Recipes to Try

Simple Portuguese Clam Stew Recipe

Portuguese clam stew

Simple Portuguese Clam Stew

Course Main Course
Cuisine Portuguese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Author Craig Fear


  • 2 pounds littleneck clams about 20-24, rinsed and scrubbed clean
  • 3 TBSPs olive oil
  • 2 links chourico sausage diced into ¼ inch rings
  • 1 small to medium yellow onion diced into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ green pepper diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups clam broth or more
  • 1 cup cilantro loosely packed, chopped, or more
  • 2 TBSP fresh lime juice or more
  • 2 cups pre-cooked white rice optional

Optional seasonings, to taste

  • Steamed white rice
  • Fresh cilantro chopped
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Hot sauce of your choice
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized stock pot. Add chourico, onion and pepper and saute about 5-7 minutes, until chourico is lightly browned and vegetables are softened.
  2. Add garlic and ground cumin and saute a few more minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.
  3. Add the wine, raise the heat and simmer for a few minutes until wine is slightly reduced.
  4. Add clam broth and bring to a simmer. Add the whole littleneck clams, cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until all the shells open. Add more clam broth, if desired.

  5. Add the cilantro and lime juice and stir in. Taste and add more lime juice, if desired.
  6. Add some of the optional pre-cooked white rice into individual bowls. Ladle the stew into the bowls and add optional seasonings, to taste.
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How to Make a Simple Portuguese Clam Stew

About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.