Stuffies at Portu-Galo, East Providence

Portu-Galo has opened a local food truck that is reported to be excellent and carries everything from bifana with the pork cutlet to stuffies which come highly recommended ("order the stuffies -- these Rhode Island's icons are some of the best we've had")Also recommened is Seafood Inc. Pawcatuck. 

Peter Huoppi/The Day A fresh batch of stuffed clams at Seafood Etc. in Pawcatuck 

Lunch In Rhode Island: Stuffies, The Only Way To Eat A Quahog

Happy New England regional specialty Friday!

A truly authentic Rhode Island stuffie tastes like clam and breadcrumbs, and nothing more.
I absolutely love discovering regional specialties involving ultra-fresh seafood! I was recently enlightened by the Baltimore crab pretzel, I even made my own semi-legit version in Test Kitchen. Last week I reconnected with a friend from high school who spent a few years on and off in Rhode Island, and was turned on to the stuffie. It involves the quahog, king of chowder. And quite frankly, I just plain like saying it.
So you take your giant clam, shuck it, retain the juice, chop and mix with bread or cracker crumbs and a little extra clam juice to moisten, then return to shell. Bake, add a squeeze of lemon and consume. That's a stuffie and that sounds awesome. I usually suggest a little trio or so of variations, but I don't want anything else in or on that. Maybe a little hot sauce, the mild stuff. Red Devil, at most.
That said, there are many variations still very much worth eating. Some mix sautéed onions and celery, cherry peppers and/or sausage with the clams before returning them to whenst they came to get crispy. Portuguese stuffies, courtesy of the large Portuguese population in Rhode Island, involve chouriço (relative of chorizo) and green peppers.
Any sort of battered or breaded and fried seafood is truly sacred to those who have spent time in New England, and this is no exception. While it's no clam belly on the beach, I can definitely see creating a variation on this for our next Test Kitchen. There's nothing like a great stuffed clam-related schooling.

Fast Food

Puritan & Company is Will Gilson’s brilliant new homage to classic New England cuisine.
His clever touches on everything from clam chowder to Rhode Island-style stuffies range from fresh and exciting to downright decadent.
We love the eye for historic culinary detail: The smoked bluefish pate is served with homemade hardtack; the aromatic Wellfleet clam chowder with homemade oyster crackers.
The lamb belly is crusted in a Moxie glaze. Yes, the iconic Maine soda. The frisee and foie gras salad is served with johnnycake, Gilson’s version of the Colonial-era corn bread; and look next week for cod brandade served with brown bread and baked beans out of a salt-cod box, meant to remind longtime New Englanders of Friday night supper.
Oh, and for decadence, try the wood-roasted Muscovy duck: gorgeous strips of rich breast meat with perfectly crispy skin and a sinful layer of fat.

Puritan & Company Stuffies
1/2 large onion, chopped finely
8 oz. butter
2 c. flour
3 c. milk
1/2 c. chopped quahogs 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese 1 T. thyme, chopped 1 T. parsley chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
 1 t. paprika
2 c. flour
2 eggs
2 c. bread crumbs
Cook onion in butter until soft. Add 2 cups flour and whisk over low heat until mixture resembles roux. Add milk and whisk over high heat, cooking until mixture thickens to consistency of cookie dough. Add clams, cheese, thyme, parsley, lemon zest and paprika, and mix well. Cool, then portion into 2-oz. balls. Freeze. Heat oil in large, safe pot to 350 degrees. Remove frozen stuffies. Place 2 cups flour, eggs and bread crumbs in three separate dishes. Coat stuffies with flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs, shaking off excess. Fry each stuffie 4 to 5 minutes. Makes 36 stuffies.

(Puritan & Company, 1166 Cambridge St., -Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-615-6195, www.puritan-cam 

New York System in Rhode Island

Big cities are often identified by a unique local cuisine. Mention New York and you’ll hear about the pizza. Talk about Philadelphia and you’ll be compelled to discuss how good the cheesesteaks taste. After a quick drive around Providence you’ll notice real quickly that Providence is all about hot wieners.

Also known as New York system wieners, hot wieners are a local favorite
in Rhode Island and you can find them in just about every neighborhood in
Providence. The most famous one of course is Olneyville New York System
Wieners, which was recently featured on
Man vs. Food. The dogs have a natural
casing and are made up of beef veal and pork. Spicy brown mustard and top-cut
rolls are standard with the wiener, but what makes this special is the meat sauce.
Depending on the location the sauce can range from dry to wet, gravy like sauce.

Hot Wieners are a staple of after hours eating here in Providence, with most
wiener spots open until 2am on weekends. For the most part these places are
small family-owned restaurants. So what are you going to do if you forget to
catch them before the clock strikes 2:01? You can follow this recipe to make your
own New York systems at home.

6-8 New England Style Hot Dog Rolls
6-8 Deli Wieners or Beef Franks
1 lbs. of 85% lean ground Beef
1 medium-sized Yellow Onion (diced)
1/2 cup of Vegetable Oil
1/2 tsp. of Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
Celery Salt
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper

1. Place beef in a large skillet on medium-high until the meat is evenly
brown. Make sure you are grounding the meat as best you can. Once
brown drain the meat and set it aside.

2. Next place you diced onions and vegetable oil in the skillet on medium
high until the onion is light brown. I suggest using a wooden spoon.

3. Now you can throw in your beef, Worcestershire sauce, soy, and spice to
tastes. Mix the ingredients well. Now you can reduce heat to a simmer and
cover. This should simmer for about 20 minutes. Check back every few
minutes and taste it. If the sauce is too dry add a little more vegetable oil, likewise if you think it needs more seasoning.

4. In the mean time you can start on your dogs. Traditionally they are
steamed but you can use any method you like. For whichever method you
chose, make 3 small slits on them so you can tell they are ready.

5. For warm buns, wrap the buns individually in a paper towels and place in
the microwave for 20 seconds.

6. Now its time to put your hot wiener together. Your order of operations is
deli mustard, frank, and finally top with some meat sauce.

~Philip Crean ’13.5

GoLocalProv Names Rod's Grill Wieners as Top Five in RI

GoLocalProv Names Rod's Grill Wieners as Top Five in RI

It is probably safe to say that if you live in Bristol or Warren, you've been to Rod's Grill at least once. Similarly, it's probably also safe to say that most locals think the wieners at Rod's Grill are the best in Rhode Island.
Well, GoLocalProv agrees. On Thursday the site published a list of the top five wiener joints in Rhode Island. Among their top five were Wien-o-Rama in Cranston, the Olneyville New York System in Providence, the Smith Street New York System in Providence, Cosmic Steak and Pizza in Warwick, and of course, Rod's Grill in Warren.
Rod's Grill has lasted through the years as a family-owned business and has received numerous awards, such as the Best Lunch Counter, Best of Rhode Island's Best Wieners in the East Bay, Rhode Island Monthly's Cheap Eats, and recently, was named in Fork in the Rhode's top 10 New York System Wiener Challenge.

The 5 Best Wiener Joints in Rhode Island

Ann & Michael Martini, GoLocalProv Food Editors

Ah, the arguments we know this one will incite. Alas, when we heard recently that local hot wiener joints closed in honor of the death of the patriarch of the Olneyville System wiener family, we knew it was time to round up Rhode Island’s best. As tough as it was to decide, we think we’ve found Rhode Island’s top dogs, or most of them, anyway. Burp.

Olneyville New York System, Providence

They say the art of prepping wieners “up the arm” of the guy assembling them behind the counter began in the 1940s on Coney Island. In that circus-like atmosphere, food vendors would compete for attention and sales. Well, if the art has been perfected anywhere, it’s a this wiener top spot (“It adds flavor,” Ann’s dad always says). Not that they need it. The “sauce” – a tangy concoction of meat and tomatoes and spices that goes on top is the best of the bunch here at this iconic joint. Expect to see anyone from Buddy Cianci to Patrick Kennedy to your local general assemblyman belly up to the counter. Back when Showtime’s “Brotherhood” series used to film here, the cast and crew would almost clean the place out of wieners regularly. Almost. 20 Plainfield St, 621-9500

Wien-o-Rama, Cranston

If there is, in Rhode Island, a haute hot wiener, this is where you find it. Wien-o-Rama has something of a cult following among loyals that includes top local chefs and food lovers who won’t get them anywhere else. We think it has something to do with the dog itself, made from beef and pork, tucked into a steamed bun and topped off with a rich and tasty sauce – meatier than most – mustard and fresh onions. There is something decidedly palate-pleasing about the combination. Prepare to queue up however – the lines here can be long and seating is limited, so it’s best to get these dogs to go. If you must deviate from the menu, the burgers here are quite good too, in a wiener-joint kind of way. 1009 Oaklawn Ave, 943-4990

Smith Street New York System, Providence

What makes a wiener best? Dare we say it might be the freshness of the toppings? Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But if not, consider this: Olneyville New York System goes through tens of thousands of wieners a month. So on any given day, you can be assured that the dog that you order at this institution will be as tasty as they come. A fresh snap from the wiener itself, lots of sauce and celery salt, mustard, onions. Heartburn follows and is oh, so worth it. One must order them “all the way” here or the counter help will look at you like you’re a Yankee Fan in Red Sox Nation. Don’t know what “all the way” means? You can stop reading now, then. 424 Smith St, 331-5349

Cosmic Steak and Pizza, Warwick

We have been eating the wieners at Cosmic since we were in, ahem, high school. And a visit to this Warwick institution, which has been proudly serving great grub since 1976, on a recent Saturday night shows not much has changed. Teens and families wait patiently at the counter for the plethora of tasty treats on the menu: everything from fresh salads to baked pastas to steak sandwiches to pepperoni pies to hot wieners. And, oh the wieners are top-notch. The buns are always properly steamed-never a tough or waterlogged bun to be had here. The meat sauce is terrific and we always end up with some crispy fries to go along with the tasty wieners. These babies have that “snap” that you look for in a good wiener.1141 Post Rd, 781-5410

Rod's Grill, Warren

The Rodriguez family has been building hot wieners here using the same recipe for more than 50 years. The grandkids run it now using the same recipes Grandma Rodriguez used. Rod’s is a townie kind of place, a greasy spoon that serves up cheap eats and everybody knows everybody else’s name. We’re talking traditional comfort food here. Large portions to fill the fishermen and other blue collar workers bellies are the norm. The family takes great care to make you feel like you are a long lost relative. We like our wieners here with a little extra mustard and extra meat sauce. Don’t forget to add some fries on the side and a coffee milk never hurt anyone! 6 Washington St, Warren, 245-9405