One-Pot Wonders

Drunken Clams with Sausage

April 14, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I developed this dish by experimenting with my favorite ingredients -- clams, sausage, wine and heavy cream. I love it because it is simple to make, because it takes very little time, because it impresses the crowd, and most of all, I love it for the broth! The broth takes me to another world and I can never have enough of it. But the key to getting the dish right lies entirely in CLEANING YOUR CLAMS PROPERLY! So before you go and take the plunge, here is a link to a pretty good explanation on how to do it —QueenSashy

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: QueenSashy is a scientist who loves her red Le Creuset pots.
WHAT: A comforting clam and sausage mix that combines both sweet and dry white wine for a powerhouse of flavor.
HOW: Just chop the aromatics, saute everything together, steam the clams, and it's time to eat!
WHY WE LOVE IT: The rich, tarragon-infused broth is the perfect match for a crusty loaf of bread, and the Littleneck clams pair perfectly with sausage. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 4 dozen littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed
  • 2 sweet Italian sausages (about 10oz), casing removed and meat separated into small pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 of small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 5 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup sweet white wine, such as Muscat
  • 10 large fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, until soft, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, celery and fennel and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the sausage meat and cook for another 5 minutes, until the meat is nicely browned.
  2. Add the wine (both dry and sweet) and bring to boil. Add the tarragon.
  3. Add the clams, cover with a lid and cook, shaking the saucepan from time to time, until the clams are open, for about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the heavy cream, gently shake the saucepan to mix, and simmer over low heat uncovered, for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Spoon the clams into bowls or soup plates. Stir the parsley into the broth, season with pepper and then pour over the clams. Serve with fresh bread.
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Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.

49 Reviews

Sidney H. December 20, 2023
I made this tonight and doubled the recipe. It fed 6 hungry people. I was worried because it was my first time cooking clams and I spent $100 just on clams. I was also worried because there was no back up if the recipe didn’t work out. IT WORKED. Very easy no fail recipe. Impressive too
Chris November 30, 2023
Tried this a while back for family who love clams with linguine. We made it exactly as written but did the following—removed clams before adding cream; divided clams over cooked linguine and ladled the sauce over the whole thing. One of the best meals we’ve ever had. Served also with the crusty bread. No such thing as too many carbs! Well, at least not every day. Fantastic!
Lila March 16, 2021
Making this tonight for two people. Should I just halve every?
QueenSashy March 16, 2021
Yes you can. This is a very forgiving dish so you can change quantities as you see fit. Or you can up the sausage or clams slightly, it's still going to work just fine.
neenagoswamy December 28, 2020
This was fantastic! I will def make again because it will be a crowd-pleaser. I actually didn't have tarragon and just used a ton of basil instead and came out great, I will def make a again with tarragon. I thought that the broth was fantastic and a tad bit too sweet (but again, might be because I didn't use tarragon). I also used a sweet sausage and will make again with a more spicy/savory kind to balance out the sweetness of the broth. Totally amazing and SO easy!
Teresa712 December 28, 2020
If you want to cut the sweetness, use all dry white wine instead of the Muscat. I did this and it was still AMAZING!
Andrew K. September 28, 2020
Made this for the Fam the other night and it was a HIT. Everyone agreed that we should put this in " The Rotation ". I also found it to be a relatively easy to execute plus, plus, plus. Make sure to have a good bottle of white wine and some crusty bread and you are sure to have a fantastic dinner.
Andrew K. September 28, 2020
Made this for the Fam the other night and it was a HIT. Everyone agreed that we should put this in " The Rotation ". I also found it to be a relatively easy to execute. Make sure to have a good bottle of white wine and some crusty bread and you are sure to have a fantastic dinner.
Andrew K. September 28, 2020
Made this for the Fam the other night and it was a HIT. Everyone agreed that we should put this in " The Rotation ". I also found it to be a relatively easy to execute. Can't wait to make this again.
Victoria C. September 8, 2020
I'm making these tomorrow so I can't leave a review, but I can tell you about the best way to purge clams of sand that I have ever found. This is it
Thanhthanh1995 August 21, 2019
Ngao 2 coi là một trong những món hải sản rất ngon, bổ dưỡng và có giá khá phù hợp. Công thức chế biến món ngao cũng khá là đơn giản. Và công thức nấu món ngao biển bạn chia sẻ đã thực sự giúp ích cho tôi rất nhiều. Nếu bạn nào muốn thưởng thức tay nghề của tôi hãy ghé đến hải sản Hải Âu nhé.
Marie November 5, 2016
I ordered this at a fancy restaurant in a college town. Thought 1 dozen clams would never be enough but it was soooo good. I guessed at what was in it and made it a couple days later. I first steamed the clams, so I had that wonderful broth and I mixed it in with just about all of the ingredients you have. It was just wonderful and yes I had some left over for the next day. Great recipe.
Brenda D. July 3, 2016
Made this a few times and it's a big hit. DH not into cream sauce so I add some butter instead. It's still delicious and bread dipping worthy.
Teresa712 May 25, 2015
This dish is one of my favorites, just amazing. The broth is heavenly with some crusty bread.
tota December 16, 2014
Can I make this without the sausage, my husband is vegetarian and this sounds great except for that.
laura J. July 14, 2014
I made this for dinner tonight and it is AMAZING!!!!!! No modifications necessary whatsoever!!!
Chispa February 25, 2015
All I needed to know...
jen February 16, 2014
Delicious...didn't have sweet wine but was fine without it!
bausdyn1 December 23, 2013
I love this recipe. I inadvertantly sent it as I was attempting to download & print the recipe. Kudos to Queen Sashy for a wonderful dish. I cannot, & do not, take credit for the recipe, but I have taken a lot of credit for a great dish whenever I make it.
alicia A. October 8, 2013
its taste great but i will try this using other organic herbals. sounds healthy food. thanks for sharing this recipe
RoundLake C. August 14, 2013
This was fantastic! Perfect for a quick mid-week meal. There were raves all around the table!
QueenSashy August 14, 2013
Thank you for letting me know!
Chloe8 June 7, 2013
Another must try recipe!
bclelia May 22, 2013
Delicious! Who knew that clams were so perfect for dinner parties. Pretty affordable, little effort to make, fun to eat, and present beautifully. I made this recipe last night and it was a big success. My husband requested that me make this dish more often.
QueenSashy May 22, 2013
bclelia thanks so much for letting me know!