Heat a large soup pot with the oil over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and brown for 2 minutes, then add the hash browns, onions, celery, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Sauté and let the veggies soften up, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Pat the shrimp dry and season by tossing in a bowl with the seafood seasoning.
Add the corn, tomatoes, and stock to the pot and cover to bring up to a boil, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and clams and replace the lid. Cook until the shrimp are pink and firm and the clams have opened, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in hot sauce to taste, the lemon zest and juice, and the parsley.
While the stew cooks, toast the English muffins. Rub the hot toasted muffins with the cut sides of the garlic, then butter the muffins and sprinkle with the chives. Chop the muffins into large dice.
Serve the stew in shallow bowls topped with the muffin croutons. Place an extra bowl at each place to collect the clam shells.