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If we had a beer for every time Chris Cosentino said “pork fat” at our faces, we’d be schwasted.  “I like pork fat. Pork fat’s a good thing,” says the San Francisco-based chef who once worked at beloved DC restaurants Red Sage and Kinkead’s.

Raised in Rhode Island, Consentino was influenced by the big Portuguese community there, and here his clams and chorizo recipe is an updated classic, made with an rich, amber-colored Negra Modelo, a Munich Dunkel Style Lager.  “The original Rhode Island clam chowder is made with beer, clam broth, and pork belly,” says Consentino, who uses spicy chorizo instead to make you feel like you’re caught somewhere between Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello.

A great summer dish, it’s light, satisfying, and naturally pairs well with…more beer.  “The nuttiness of Negra Modelo is great for rendering fat,” says Consentino, so invite five friends over to help you render some fat by feasting on clams and beer, then dancing it all off. Serves 6:

Photo: Jai Williams, feature photo courtesy of Chris Cosentino.

Chris Cosentino’s Clams and Chorizo

4 lbs. clams (Manila or cockles)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. spicy chorizo
1 red onion, julienned
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp picked thyme
2 cups chickpeas (cooked)
1 bottle Negra Modelo
3 cups chicken stock
1 lemon for juice and zest
1 head of fennel
¼ cup parsley leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup chive batons
Grilled country bread

Wash the clams well with ice and cold water, smacking vigorously in a bucket. This keeps them cold and gets them clean at the same time. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, julienned onions, and garlic with the thyme, sweating it out for a few minutes until aromatic.  Add the spicy chorizo in chunks and let them melt. Add the clams and chickpeas with the Negra Modelo and cover until all the clams open, about 4 minutes.  Add some chicken stock to the pot, let simmer. Remove the cover and adjust the broth with olive oil and lemon juice, divide the clams evenly between six bowls.

In a mixing bowl, add the shaved fennel and herbs, dress with lemon juice and olive oil, then top each bowl of clams with the salad, served with grilled bread.

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