Seafood Caldo with Chorizo

This image courtesy of Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Caldos are the hearty, chunky soups of Portugal and Spain. This one takes the flavors of the region and ups the ante of ingredients into the realm of stew. Although the flavors are multilayered and complex, they are not challenging, and the spice level is determined completely by the type of chorizo you use. Even if you like your food on the fiery side, I suggest using a mild chorizo. Pepper has a tendency to grow hotter during slow cooking, and you can always add a pinch of crushed pepper flakes at the end. As with all seafood stews and soups, you can make the broth any time, but add your fish no more than 20 minutes before serving.

NotesWhat else?

• Alter the seafood to take advantage of whatever looks brightest and is most readily available to you. Just try to have a mixture of shellfish and fish

Precook: 20 minutes

Slow Cook: 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low, in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker

At the End: 20 minutes

6 servings

Cooking Methodslow cooking


Total Timehalf-day

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Equipmentcrock pot


Taste and Texturegarlicky, meaty, savory, spiced, winey

Type of Dishfish soup, hot soup, soup


  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 18 littleneck clams, cleaned (clams should be tightly closed)
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh chorizo (preferably mild), cut into
  • ½-inch-thick slices
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into thin slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Juice and finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted almonds
  • 8 ounces salmon fillet, skin removed, bones removed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces jumbo shrimp (15 to 20 count), shelled and cleaned


  1. Bring the wine and water to a boil in a large deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. Add the clams, cover, and boil until the clams open, 4 to 8 minutes, removing the clams to a bowl with a slotted spoon as soon as they open. Discard any unopened clams. Strain the cooking liquid through a dampened coffee filter or several layers of damp cheesecloth to remove grit. You should have about 2 cups; add more water if you have less. Add the saffron to the liquid and set aside. Store the clams in the refrigerator while the stew cooks.

  2. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chorizo slices on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

  3. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery and sauté until tender and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add three-quarters of the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the reserved clam cooking liquid, the diced tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Pour into the slow cooker, cover the cooker, and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low.

  4. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining garlic, lemon juice and zest, parsley, and almonds; set aside.

  5. About 30 minutes before serving, remove the clams from the refrigerator and turn the slow cooker to high. Add the salmon and shrimp to the slow cooker, push gently to submerge, and cook until the fish flakes when pressed gently, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

  6. To serve, place 3 clams in each of 6 large soup bowls Ladle the caldo over the clams and sprinkle with some of the parsley mixture; serve immediately.


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