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Jul 11, 2007 08:58 AM

Basque Clams and Rice -- Arroz con Chirlas

I'm posting this recipe in response to a request on the San Francisco Board:

Arroz con Chirlas

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic (3 to 5) peeled and sliced
2 cups medium-grain white rice
5 1/2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
3 dozen clams in shells (1 to 1 1/2 in. wide), suitable for steaming
2/3 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour
MAKES: 6 to 8 first-course servings, 3 or 4 main-dish servings

1. In a 5- to 6-quart pan over medium heat, stir oil, garlic, and rice until garlic begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add broth; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, scrub clams under cool running water.

3. After rice has cooked 10 minutes, stir in 1/2 cup parsley and distribute clams evenly over the mixture. Cover and simmer until rice is tender to bite and clams have opened, 15 to 20 minutes longer; discard any clams that haven't opened. Sprinkle with remaining parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

NOTES: Mari Carmen Totorica cooks the clams separately to ensure that all the sand is removed; if clams are well scrubbed, however, they can be cooked with the rice. Cook and serve from an attractive wide pan or scoop into a wide bowl.

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  1. A caveat... Chirlas are not regular clams. They are very small tender little clams--bigger than coquinas, but smaller than regular Spanish clams (which are much smaller and more delicate tasting than most American varieties of clams). I've never seen anything like them in the US. Here's more info:

    2 Replies
    1. re: butterfly

      I think that Manila clams would work well in this recipe. They are readily available here in the SF Bay Area.

      1. re: Nancy Berry

        Manila clams have a really different texture and flavor than chirlas, but I agree that they are probably the best substitution.