I can see where this week is going. Like all of us, we are gearing up for Thanksgiving and the daily holidays seem to reflect that too. That’s not a bad thing, but it does kind of throw you off your game. For instance, I could make a delightful stuffing today, but then have more stuffing on Thursday. I kind of don’t want to spoil Thanksgiving. Becky’s making her Mom’s stuffing which is always a highlight of the meal (pressure is on Beck). Anything I made today would just fail by comparison.
I then realized I had a few options. Wikipedia defines stuffing as “an edible substance or mixture, often a starch, used to fill a cavity in another food item while cooking.” That’s pretty broad. Naturally when you hear about stuffing at this time of year you think of the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. But there are other kinds of stuffing too. Stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed lobster. I decided to celebrate in Rhode Island style with a Stuffie. For you non-Rhodies, that’s a stuffed quahog (stuffed clam).
I wish I gave this more effort because I’ve never made a Stuffie from scratch. It seems relatively easy to make and is made with some great flavors. But, I didn’t have the time today to go about all that (maybe next time). I decided instead to pick up some at Clement’s as they always have them available in the prepared food section. If this was the summer, I would have gone to Flo’s Clam Shack around the corner or maybe even Evelyn’s in Tiverton and picked some fresh one’s up there. Those are great local walk up seafood spots. But there’s something about doing that in the summer when the sun is warm and bright compared to doing it on a cold November day. It just doesn’t feel the same. So I went the easy route of Clement’s.
The stuffing for a Stuffie is usually a mixture of bread stuffing mixed with quahogs and chourico sausage. Like any stuffing, it is bound together by butter. There are also chopped onions and peppers in the mix too. Clement’s stuffie stuffing is some version of this. They sell them already cooked but wrapped up for reheating. The say microwave for one to two minutes and it’s all good. I wouldn’t recommend that. I cooked Lola’s first by doing this and it came out not so good. The shell broke in the microwave plus it just tasted off. Too much clam taste. After that, I decided to heat mine up in a pan (removing the stuffing, heating it up and then returning to the clamshell). That actually came out much better.
It still would have been better if I had just cooked the whole thing in the oven rather than having a reheated one. The clams get really tough served this way and take away from the bite. Plus it dries out fast. Making fresh stuffing and cooking it all the way through would have been the way to go. I will say that the chopped pieces of green pepper in the Stuffie were the stars. Something about how tender they came out and the flavor they unleashed was right on. I don’t think I’ve ever praised a green pepper as such. There’s nothing like a good Stuffie when you are in Rhode Island, so I’ll keep ordering them wherever I am. I just happened to have a not great one today.
Later I was feeling a bit like I should have acknowledged the stuffing that was likely meant to be celebrated on this day. I looked in our cabinet and I had a container of Stovetop Stuffing. I made a single serving using just the stuffing, some water and butter. It came together super fast and it was nice and warm. I’ll tell you what – it wasn’t bad at all. It gave you that stuffing satisfaction of cooked bread. You taste the butter and you get the chicken flavor from whatever devious chicken flavorings are hidden within the Stovetop mix. That was more like the stuffing we all know and love, so consider it celebrated.
Thanksgiving is coming and celebrating stuffing today made me more excited for our Thursday feast. Stuffing is an essential part of the meal and deserves a spot of prominence on your plate. Never relinquish stuffing space on your plate for any of the other tidbits like string beans or turnips. Stick to the best. And save some leftovers for those Thanksgiving sandwiches on the days that follow. It’s that time of year, so get your stuffing priorities in line. Cheers!
Next Up: National Cranberry Relish Day