Chicken with Clams

by Cindi SutterFounder of The Spirited Table® - Recipe by Mark Bittman, NYT Cooking

Sam Kaplan for The New York Times; Food stylist: Suzanne Lenzer. Prop stylist: Theo Vamvounakis.

Sam Kaplan for The New York Times; Food stylist: Suzanne Lenzer. Prop stylist: Theo Vamvounakis.

This is a dish inspired by the classic Portuguese pork with clams (usually called á alentejana, because it’s from Alentejo), a magnificent expression of surf and turf, with the brininess of the clams almost overwhelmingly flavoring the pork. Here, it’s done with chicken, which is more reliably tender (good pork is harder to find than good chicken) and marries with the clam juice equally well. It can also be made in a kind of Chinese style, by adding not only ginger to the garlic but also sesame oil and soy sauce.
Featured in: Clams With Prosciutto

2 Tbsp neutral oil, like grapeseed or safflower
4 chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin on, bone in
Salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp chopped ginger
24 littleneck clams, rinsed in several changes of water until water runs clear and then drained
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts chopped and separated
¼ cup cilantro stems, chopped
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet or broad pot that can later be covered. When the oil is hot, season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and add them to the oil. Regulate the heat so that the meat browns evenly, turning as needed. (Drumsticks have 4 sides, really; thighs only 2, so timing is variable.) When the chicken is well browned, it will be almost done.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute, just until they soften a bit. Add the clams and sprinkle them with the scallion whites and the cilantro stems. Cover and cook until all the clams open, about 10 minutes; they will generate a good deal of liquid.
  3. Remove the top and cook that liquid down as desired. (Perhaps not at all, perhaps until syrupy — your call.) Serve over rice, or with crispy potatoes or bread, sprinkled with the scallion greens and cilantro leaves.