Portuguese seafood stew

Portuguese Clam Stew

Adapted from The Provincetown Seafood Cookbook this classic Portuguese seafood stew features fresh littleneck clams, clam broth, tomatoes, chorizo sausage, white wine, onions, peppers, garlic and fresh herbs and spices. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Portuguese
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Author Craig Fear


  • 24-36 littlenecks clams or three 6 ½ ounce cans chopped or whole clams
  • 4 TBSPs butter
  • 1 chourico sausage diced, about 1 cup
  • 2-3 medium shallots about ½ cup, diced
  • 2-3 scallions about ¼ cup, diced
  • ½ green pepper about ½ cup, diced
  • ½ cup mushrooms diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic diced
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 TBSP wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 14 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
  • 1-2 cups clam broth/juice

Optional seasonings, to taste

  • Chopped parsley
  • Grated black pepper
  • Tabasco


  1. If using fresh whole clams, remove as much sand and dirt as possible from the outer shells by rinsing and scrubbing. Then soak them in water for about 15-20 minutes to remove sand from inside the shells.
  2. Add about 1 ½ cups water to a 6 quart stockpot and bring it to a boil. Add the clams, cover and remove once the shells open, about 5 - 10 minutes. Strain the clam broth and reserve. You’ll get about 2 ½ cups clam broth give or take a half cup either way. Let the clams cool for a few minutes and then remove the clam meats and chop, if desired.
  3. If using canned clams, simply strain the clams from the juice and reserve the juice. You’ll get about 1/2 cup of clam juice per can. You may need to purchase some additional bottled clam juice to be added to the stew.
  4. Melt butter over medium heat in a 5-6 quart stock pot and add chourico sausage. Saute about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir often to prevent burning.

  5. Add shallots, scallions, pepper, garlic, mushrooms and spices and saute another 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Add white wine, raise heat slightly and simmer for a few more minutes.
  7. Add tomatoes, vinegar and parsley, stir and mix well with other ingredients and simmer for a few more minutes. Crush and mash whole tomatoes with a potato masher or some kitchen instrument to break them apart a little.
  8. Add 1 cup clam stock and simmer another minute. Taste and add another cup of clam stock, if desired. Continue simmering until desired consistency of the stew is reached. Continuing to simmer it will evaporate the liquid and make it thicker and richer.
  9. Add clams, stir in and serve immediately.
  10. Ladle stew into individual bowls and add optional seasonings, to taste. Serve with a side of bread and butter of your choice.