Pork and clams are a classic combination, and for good reason – they’re delicious individually, but they really shine when put together. I love combining Manila clams or cockles with smoked sausage – in this case, Spanish-style chorizo sausage from D’Artagnan – and serving them in a lightly spicy broth. I’ve become a huge fan of Israeli couscous, and I love adding a bit of that to the dish as well – it provides a fun interplay of textures and looks like little pearls floating in the broth.
To start, warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot, then add a couple of thinly sliced garlic cloves and sauté them until they’re golden and fragrant. Cut chorizo into chunks (I used 3 links – about 1/2 lb. – and ended up with about two cups worth) and add to the pan. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and caramelize it, then stir it through. Add a cup and a half of white wine, a cup and a half of water, a tablespoon of smoked paprika, a tablespoon of sherry vinegar and a few dashes of hot sauce, stir, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add a pound of cockles or small clams, cover the pot and continue cooking until they have opened (discard any that have not opened).
While the cockles are steaming, bring 1 1/4 cups of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, add 1 cup of Israeli couscous, cover and set aside.
When the cockles have opened, taste the broth and add salt if necessary. Add 2-3 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves and stir through. Spoon a bit of couscous into each serving bowl, then ladle the cockles, chorizo and broth over the top. Garnish with additional fresh thyme.