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My Great American Road Trip – Rhode Island

September 20, 2020

My cousin Jon’s wife is from Rhode Island, and boy is she proud of it. Gail, has been part of my family for so long I can barely remember a time before she joined our merry band (but don’t get too cocky, Gaily, I do remember…). She has lived in New Hampshire the whole time I’ve known her, but she is a Rhody through and through. And she’s a lot of fun!

My experience in Rhode Island is mostly driving through it on the way between New York and Boston. And, you know, many, many Pops concerts including an unforgettable one at Pawtucket Stadium with Kenny Loggins.

I remember long ago, like 30 years or so, my sister and brother in law lived in charming Portland, Maine, a short drive from charming North Conway where cousins Jon and Gail live. They would often make the trek across state lines for Sunday football and Rhode Island stuffies. My sister would call me to tell me how fun it was and I was always so jealous that the trip from New York prevented me from participating.

But not any more, because for this one Sunday, celebrating Rhode Island, I made stuffies!

The first thing you need are quahogs, the giants of the clam family. Much like hazelnuts, there was no way I was gonna find quahogs on Miami Beach, but unlike hazelnuts, I wasn’t going to turn to Amazon for help. So I opted for cherrystone clams, which are one size down. You put the clams in a thin layer and cover with water. Simmer covered for about 5 minutes until they open. With all bivalves, if they don’t open you throw them out. I can’t tell you how self satisfied I was that all my clams opened. (yes there were only six of them. Your point?)

You take the meat from the shells (but save those shells) and finely chop it up. Also finely chop up some yellow onion, celery, and bell pepper, except I forgot to buy bell pepper, so I skipped that. You also need some sausage, I used andouille, but I suspect Italian sausage is more true to the state. There are a lot of Italians in Providence, including Gail’s family.

When everything is well chopped (my least favorite cooking instruction is finely chop – I need to take a knife skills class), cook up the sausage in a pan, then scoop it out and set aside while you cook the celery and onions in the sausage drippings. When it’s soft add finely (ugh) chopped garlic and take the pan off the heat. Add the sausage, clams and some breadcrumbs (I made my own from the leftover Pennsylvania hoagie roll.). Add a little of the clam juice from the pot in which you steamed them to moisten the whole thing, and then chop in some fresh parsley (Italian parsley, natch).

This is the best part, you spoon this into each half of the clam as its little serving dish, and then put the stuffed clams into a 400 degree oven until they’re nice and golden on top.

When they come out you put a little squeeze of lemon on top and, if you’re playing by may family rules, eat them while rooting for the Patriots. Bonus points if you’re wearing team colors. Since I couldn’t find a Patriots game (or even the Buccaneers, since at least Tom would be representing), I did the best I could and put on the Kansas City game. And since I don’t have a Patriots jersey, I improvised.

I wish you were here Jon, Gail, and the rest of Clan Peterson, but you were with me in spirit and they were delicious!

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2 Comments
  1. Mike Miller permalink

    Patriots are playing the night game. They are on now, and battling Seattle… Turn it on and watch…..

  2. inacity permalink

    I have no idea how this tastes, so I put it at number one of what I want you to cook for me. Looks good. Except for the football part.

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