Kitchen Clambake

I wanted to figure out how to re-create a clambake at home without all the stress of cooking on the beach. I sauteed some onions and leeks[ in a very large stockpot, then layered small new potatoes, spicy sausage, clams, mussels, shrimp and lobsters until the pot was full. I poured in a whole bottle of good white wine and put the pot on the stove to simmer for 30 minutes. With steamed ears of corn, a summer tomato salad and lots of crusty French bread on the side, I had the most delicious clambake to serve my friends. I set the table with lobster crackers, huge bowls for the shells and lots of melted butter. Then we all put on chef's aprons and dug in, and no one had to worry about getting sand in the food!]

Total Time:
1 hr
15 min
45 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 1 1/2 pounds kielbasa
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, well cleaned (2 leeks, white parts only)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds small potatoes (red or white)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound steamer clams, scrubbed
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 1/2 pounds large (16 to 20 count) shrimp, in the shell
  • 3 lobsters (1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 1 750 -ml bottle good dry white wine
  • Slice the kielbasa diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices. Set aside. Saute the onions and leeks in the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed 16- to 20-quart stockpot on medium heat for 15 minutes, until the onions start to brown.

  • Layer the ingredients on top of the onions in the stockpot in this order: first the potatoes, salt and pepper, then the kielbasa, littleneck clams, steamer clams, mussels, shrimp and lobsters. Pour in the white wine. Cover the pot tightly and cook over medium-high heat until steam just begins to escape from the lid, about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and cook another 15 minutes. The clambake should be done. Test to be sure the potatoes are tender, the lobsters are cooked and the clams and mussels are open.

  • Remove the lobsters to a wooden board, cut them up and crack the claws. With large slotted spoons, remove the seafood, potatoes and sausages to a large bowl and top with the lobsters. Season the broth in the pot to taste and serve immediately in mugs with the clambake.

  • Photograph by Johnny Miller

Make-Ahead Plan: Clean all the seafood and keep it in the refrigerator, then cook the onions and leeks a few hours before dinner and leave them in the pot. To finish, simply add the potatoes, sausage and seafood, pour in the wine and simmer.

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