Corn, Bacon, and Clam Stew

By • August 25, 2010 • 51 Comments

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Food52 Review: We tend to think of one-pot meals as limited to cold wintry nights. But some of the best one pot meals, like paella and clam bakes, are made for summer time. Matt Greco, the chef at Char No. 4 in Brooklyn, came up with a marvelous corn dish that’s layered into a braising pot on the stove (though you could also do it out on your grill if you’d like.). Matt browns bacon (he makes his own, of course, but you should use whatever kind you like from the grocery store), then adds smoked paprika, corn, and bourbon. To finish the dish, he nestles littleneck clams into the corn, letting them steam open right in the pot, and showers the dish with chopped basil. Summer squared. - A
The Editors

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 6 ears corn, shucked and cut from the cobs
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 pound sungold yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • half of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
  • 8 thick slices country bread, for serving
  • small handful basil leaves, torn
  1. Place a large, deep heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the oil and bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered and the lardons are browned. Stir in the paprika and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the corn, season with salt, and stir, cooking for about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cover. Cook until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon and pour in the bourbon, stir, and turn off the heat. Add the clams with the mouth facing up. Turn on the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook the until the clams open, 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grill or toast the bread. Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle with basil, and bring the bread and the pot -- and a trivet -- to the table for serving.

Tags: clams, corn, One-Pot Wonders, Summer

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Comments (51) Questions (0)


8 months ago Jaclyn Rachel

Is there a suggested substitute for the bourbon? Something non-alcoholic...


11 months ago hookmountaingrowers

Beautiful dish combining smoky, sweet and salty. Brilliant. Used 1/2 Tbs smoked paprika (not sweet) as other reviews mentioned and cognac instead of bourban. I served over rice but I see works probably better with crusty bread. My 2 year old enjoyed it as well. Did it without cherry tomatoes since they are not yet in season but looking forward to trying it again soon when the sungolds come out. Thank you for this great recipe!


over 1 year ago David J. Stern

This was a wonderful dish. However, I might go a little lighter on the smoked paprika. It pushed the dish a little far in the direction of dark. Otherwise, great dish!


over 1 year ago kath1

This was delicious, thanks Matt. I used mussels instead, too landlocked for clams. I think it would be amazing with chorizo (the raw cured sausage not the minced meat or sliced sausage) instead of bacon and will try that next time.


almost 2 years ago Monica M

This looks amazing!


almost 2 years ago Canuck

Can you add other stuff like prawns and mussels?


almost 2 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.



almost 2 years ago ElisaLouk

I made this for a girls dinner party and it came out just as beautifully as the picture!! Super yummy. The yellow cherry tomatoes were new to me and SO good. Plus, anything that has a half pound of bacon can't be that bad!


almost 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

Cannot wait for summer to make this dish!


over 2 years ago Jenelle Berry

could I substitute mussels in the dish?


over 2 years ago htan

I've made this a few times and its ALWAYS delicious!! my favorite thing to do with clams in the summer


over 2 years ago Digitalmikey

Made it a couple of times now and always liked. It's also great due to the simplicity and the quick cooking time!


over 2 years ago rochelle123

This was excellent!! I reduced the smoked paprika to 1/2 T as suggested by another reviewer. These were the flavors of August!


over 2 years ago joycew

made this with a couple of changes based on what was on hand. subbed in red cherry tomatoes and scotch for bourbon and a few shrimp. it didn't need any additional salt with the bacon. pretty and delicious. leftovers reheated nicely for lunch the next day. will definitely be making this again, perhaps with a combo of mussels and shrimp.


almost 3 years ago Tess Danesi

This was wonderful. I added some small red potatoes and since we were out of bourbon used what was on hand - tequila. It was met was rave reviews. The next day, I added the leftovers to a salad with quinoa and feta. Totally fabulous and simple to prepare.


almost 3 years ago student epicure

absolutely delicious! i actually completely forgot to add the bourbon and it was still very good.


almost 3 years ago Texas Ex

Delicious dish made according to the recipe. Wonderful layers of flavor, and I was pleasantly surprised the smoked paprika, bacon and bourbon shared the stage so well. Thanks!


about 4 years ago peppertree

Just made this, and let me tell you... You will find heaven in this dish!


over 4 years ago SuzChef

We had this for dinner last night.. so quick & easy, and the broth was to die for! Hoping the sungolds will last another week so I can make it next weekend for a dinner party. Awesome!


over 4 years ago CuriousH

very, very delicious and easy to make. my parents, who I made it for, loved the flavor and we couldn't pinpoint what the unique flavor was, but I'm guessing it was a combo of the bourbon, smoked paprika and the clam juice. i used red cherry tomatoes instead, and it added nice color to the dish. do the yellow sungolds really make a difference in the flavor?

also, my parents loved it so much they are making it for friends next weekend, but adding lobster, as well :)


over 4 years ago strozyk

I made this with the following change - added some shallot (couldn't help myself) and swapped the bacon and paprika for hot Spanish chorizo. Delish. I would have never thought to add the lemon and bourbon. I used the Knob Creek we had in the house. The bourbon drinkers then started pouring. Fun dish!


over 4 years ago HilaFree

Summer in a pot! This was gorgeous so simple so perfect. Added a few finely diced shallots with the corn and served over some parsley roasted potatoes. Yum!


over 4 years ago melissav

I didn't make it the seafood market in time to get some clams so I made this with chicken thighs (adding some chicken stock with the bourbon to make up for the missing clam liquor) and it was an awesome. Can't wait to make it with clams.


over 4 years ago laurielufkin

This looks wonderful!!


over 4 years ago jocelyng

We really enjoyed this last night. Now if I could only figure out what to do with the 99% of the bottle of bourbon that's left over!


over 4 years ago MissGinsu

Bourbon! Wouldn't have thought of that, but I'll try it in my next corn chowder.


over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Congrats Matt - this dish was absolutely delicious!


over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congrats Matt!


over 4 years ago bprinz

Made this last night and it was so, so delicious. I think next time I might use a bit less of the smoked paprika -- 1T was a lot and came close to overpowering the dish. But still, it was delicious and there was nothing left in the pot at the end!


over 4 years ago MarthaLynn

We made this last night to unanimous raves. Bourbon, bacon and sungolds made for a lovely, complex taste, but so simple to whip up. I made the mistake of serving it as a starter course. It's very filling and would have been fine as a main course with good bread and a salad. Thanks for sharing, Matt!


over 4 years ago bolagirl

I love this recipe but I kept wishing the very nice chef was using a wooden spoon instead of scraping the creuset with metal.....


over 4 years ago bistro_gal

Made this for lunch today and hubby swooned. I had some littlenecks from Vital Choice in the freezer and did not know what to do with them; this recipe was perfect! Easy to make and amazing flavor. Absolutely delicious!


over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Made this tonight. Really delish!!! Didn't have any bourbon hanging around, so I used rum and it tasted wonderful! Thanks for this great recipe.


over 4 years ago maryvelasquez

Wow. This dish has some unexpected depth. The paprika-bacon-bourbon combo gives a complex smokiness to some pretty straightforward, bright flavors. And the lemon juice is pure genius. I was skeptical about the absence of garlic and/or onion, but I didn't miss it in this stew--I did rub my grilled bread with a garlic clove though. We drank a Spanish rose with this (not intentionally, it was what we had chilled) and it was a great match.


over 4 years ago Andrew Alfano

You must try this...delicious!


over 4 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Chipotle is itself a smoked pepper (jalapeno) so that would not be a substitute for the paprika for someone who can't/doesn't want to taste it.


over 4 years ago Rhonda35

I know that - Antonia didn't state it was an allergy - if it is, then, obviously, she should just omit the paprika and move on with the rest of the recipe.


over 4 years ago mtlabor

This looks absolutely amazing!


over 4 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Maybe it's an east coast v. west coast thing (Spy versus Spy), but I would use the smallest clams I could find, say Manila clams just for a sweeter flavor to match the corn.


over 4 years ago Sagegreen

Nestled littlenecks: That does it for me!


over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

This, and a nice hunka bread - yum!


over 4 years ago lapadia

I'm with you on the "hunka bread" mrslarkin - recipe and picture is mouthwatering Delcious!


over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks absolutely amazing. This is getting made for dinner in the next couple nights for sure!! I can't wait to try it.


over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

My husband is allergic to all bivalves, but I can totally see making this with shrimp. In fact, I know just what i'm going to make for dinner tomorrow night...


over 4 years ago Lizthechef

I'll bet this would be wonderful with shrimp, maybe adding them after heat is off with pot covered? Or, you could invite me over and we could eat it with clams ;)


over 4 years ago fraîchement

my kind of dish also. i love the simplicity of the ingredient list. i am going to have to try this soon!


over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

This looks incredible - my kind of dish.


over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

If you were serving to someone who could not eat paprika, what would you use instead? Thank you! ;o)


over 4 years ago Rhonda35

I would just skip the paprika or I would, perhaps, substitute the 1T of smoked paprika with 1 tsp chipotle chile powder.


over 4 years ago thirschfeld

AJ it sounds to me like someone has an allergy to capsicums (peppers). Why don't you try cooking it on the grill and add a few water soaked hickory chips to the fire.


over 4 years ago Rhonda35

That's a great idea, thirschfeld!