Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder

We just love the cream-based New England Clam Chowder, but we also really love tomato-based clam chowder. Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder is incredible.  This recipe is a Massachusetts classic originating with the thriving Portuguese community in the region.   Linguica sausage can be difficult to find, so I often use smoked chorizo, they are both nice and spicy and very similar.  The nutty Madeira wine adds a beautiful depth to the chowder, as does the fennel and smoked paprika.  This chowder will warm you to the bones.  A Loon favorite for sure!  125% Loon Approved!

Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Portuguese-Style Clam Chowder is just brimming with flavor. So hearty and will warm you to the bone. If you are serving to a group, make the broth ahead and then add the clams and finish just before serving. Amazing flavor!
Recipe type: Chowder
Cuisine: Portuguese / Seafood
Serves: 4
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 for sauteing and 2 for finishing
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprgis fresh oregano, or 1½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans fire-roasted tomatoes, plus 2 cans' worth of water
  • 1 lb cooked (or smoked) linguca sausage, or chorizo, thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb fresh fennel, core removed and cut into ½-inch-thick dice
  • 48 cockles or littleneck clams, scrubbed thoroughly to remove any grit
  • 3 tablespoons Madeira, either Rainwater or Verdelho style
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the paprika, thyme, and oregano and cook until toasted and aromatic, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes, water, sausage, and fennel and bring to a simmer and cook until fennel is tender, about 15 minutes. (if making ahead of time, remove from the heat and refrigerate until ready to finish. Reheat gently before proceeding).
  5. Add the clams and increase the heat to high.
  6. Simmer vigorously until the clams open, 7 to 10 minutes.
  7. Discard any clams that don't open.
  8. Stir in the Madeira and vinegar.
  9. Divide among 4 bowls and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the top.
  10. Serve and enjoy!


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