Indoor Clambake

My third son turned 10 today.  Since he didn't ask to be born on New Year's Eve, we promised him when he was a tiny tot (and didn't care or know) that December 31st would always be his birthday first, a holiday second.  This means we all stay in, make a special dinner, dress up, feast, play games, watch movies, and see who is the last to drop into a coma.

This summer, I saw a recipe in Martha Stewart's magazine for an indoor clam bake, or maybe a lobster boil, or whatever you'd want to call it.  It is essentially a multi-layer pot of seafood, sausage and vegetables.  When it's all boiled and steamed up, there's a delicious broth at the bottom of the pot that, with butter added, becomes a delicious dipping sauce, AND then a perfect start to a pot of 'soup from leftovers' for the next day.

We made this on Labor Day, a terrific way to end the summer and celebrate a love of good food.  For that meal, I did include 3 lobster tails because they were on sale and we thought they'd be fun to have in there.  The recipe called for 3 whole lobsters - spank! at the cash register.  This time, we chose to omit the lobster all together, we changed the type of sausage, and I used both beer and white wine in the broth.

It was delish.  It only takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, and if your store cleans the seafood for you, you have very little prep work to do.  You just need a good pot and excellent ingredients!

Indoor Clambake

2 large onions, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
12 ounces of pale ale, or 6 ounces beer and 6 ounces of white wine
1 cup water
Fresh seaweed (optional) for layering, well-rinsed
1 1/2 pounds very small yukon gold potatoes, or red potatoes
1 pound sausage (we used mild chicken sausage, but chorizo is yummy!)
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds littleneck clams
4 ears of corn, halved
2 pounds mussels
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shell on (peeled ones were on sale this time)
3 tablespoons butter
2 lemons, quartered

In a large pot (12 quarts is ideal, bigger is ok), combine onions, garlic, beer/wine and water.  Place a deep steamer basket (or layer of seaweed!) on top of onions, and add potatoes, sausage and a tablespoon of salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add clams and corn and 1 teaspoon salt, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add mussels and shrimp and 1 teaspoon salt, cover and simmer 10 more minutes, until shrimp are pink and all clams and mussels are open.

Remove seafood, corn, potatoes and sausage using tongs.  Place on large platters covered with paper (optional) and set aside.  Discard seaweed if you used it, along with any mussels or clams that did not open.  Strain liquid and swirl in the butter.  Serve along with the platters of food, and the lemon wedges for squeezing!

DO NOT throw out the shells from the mussels, clams and shrimp, and DO NOT get rid of the leftover broth!  Put it all back into a big pot, and add enough water to cover, plus a few of the lemon wedges.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to two hours.  Strain this broth, and add in all the leftover potatoes (cut into cubes), seafood, corn, sausage, etc.  Thicken this soup if you want, taste for seasoning and enjoy some delicious seafood corn chowder for a few more days!  We didn't have much seafood left this time, so I put a few chicken breasts into the liquid to poach, shredded this meat, and added it back into the soup.  It's going to be good!

 Beer, wine, onions and garlic.

Steamer added, plus potatoes . . .

And sausages . . .

And the clams!

 That corn looks like summer - mmmmmm.

My helper, dropping in the mussels.

  Lovely shrimp!

Everything's cooked and ready for the platter.

 Look at those shiny, inky-black mussels!  Freezer paper worked great on the platters,

Brought out the red-checked tablecloth from summer picnics :)

Yum.Yum.Yum.  And yes, my kids all LOVE this meal!

JillMain Dishes3 Comments