This recipe belonged to my mother. When she was divorced from her first husband, and raising 4 kids on her own, she and my older brothers and sisters would go to the beach on Cape Cod and clamdig in the surf for hard shell clams. She'd take them home, mix them into a bread stuffing, bake them in the clamshells, and take big trays to the local bars. They'd buy the trays from Mom, sell the stuffed clams to their patrons, and the next day Mom would go collect her trays and the empty shells for re-use. She was a determined lady, my Mom!
1Sautee Onion, Celery, and peppers in olive oil or butter until onion is translucent
2Chop up sausage, but do not cook. I find it easiest to use a food processor to get it good and fine, but not so much as to make it powdery. You want to have a little texture, too!
3toss veggies, red pepper, clams, and sausage together in a large bowl until well blended. Then toss in breadcrumbs, a little at a time, until you're happy with the proportion and overall quantity.
4Mix in reserved clam juice, and any additional clam juice or chicken stock needed to make the stuffing moist, but not too sticky. It needs to be moist enough to hold its general shape when it's stuffed.
5stuff a large spoonful, depending on the size of your clamshells, into each half clamshell so that it's rounded. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until the top starts to get crusty.
6The hardest part of this recipe is the shells. I collected mine a few at a time, buying some of them in the seafood department at the grocery store, then cooking them and using the meat in the recipe. Then when they're used and baked and eaten, they go in the dishwasher (top rack!) to be washed and stored for the next time. If you're unable to get your hands on decent-sized clamshells at first, try using muffin tins or dessert ramekins. Just line the tins with cupcake wrappers!