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Xerém de Conquilhas – Corn mush with mussels

Xerém is the Arabic name for these “papas de milho”, a corn porridge that is still cooked in many villages in the Algarve, especially in winter. In the original recipe, finely ground corn flour is used, but it also works with slightly coarser semolina. Xerém is usually served with clams, but there are also recipes with cockles, prawns or even chouriço.

Falstaff Editorial Team

Cooking time: 00:20

Ingredients (4 servings)
1.8 kg clams or wedge clams
120 g smoked bacon, cut into thin slices
150 g chorizo, thinly sliced
100 g serrano ham, cut into thin slices
280 ml white wine
180 g corn flour or fine semolina, sieved
sea salt
black pepper, freshly ground
  • Scrub the shells of the clams the day before to remove any dirt. Discard any shells that do not close when tapped. Rinse the clams several times under cold running water to remove any grains of sand, then place in a large bowl and fill with water.
  • Add enough fine sea salt to create a brine with 1 percent salt, stir well. Do not add too much salt as this could kill the mussels. Leave to stand in the fridge for 12 hours. This will eliminate the sand in the clams.
  • The next day, drain the clams and put them in a large pan. Add 150 milliliters of water, cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes or until they open.
  • Strain the clams through a sieve into a large bowl and reserve the cooking liquid. Remove half of the clams from their shells and set aside.
  • Have a small pan of hot water (or another seafood stock, if available) ready over a low heat. Place the chorizo and Serrano ham in a large saucepan and sauté over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the cooking liquid from the clams and the wine and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the cornflour or semolina and stir well.
  • Cook the sterz over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. If the mixture becomes too thick during cooking, add a little hot water or stock from the small saucepan. It should be creamy and moist. Add the shelled clams, mix well and season to taste, adding pepper if necessary. Serve the dish with the remaining clams and the meat.


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Falstaff Editorial Team
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