4 pint cockles, well washed
4 slice bacon, chopped
1 oz butter
1 spanish onion, chopped
3 floury potatoes, cubed
3/4 pint milk
4 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 freshly ground pepper
Take a large pan with a lid and put a little water in it to boil. When boiling, toss in the cockles, clap the lid on and cook 5 mins or so, shaking to cook the cockles evenly. When they have all opened, tip into a colander over a bowl. Remove cockles forthwith from their shells, and spread out to cool quickly. Strain the liquor carefully to remove and sand.
Meanwhile parboil the potatoes for about 10 minutes, and in another pan, melt the butter, let the bacon sizzle in it a moment or two, add the finely chopped onion, put the lid on and sweat till the onion becomes transparent. Add the milk, cockle liquor, potatoes and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook very gently till the potatoes are soft but not a total mush. If you cook too quickly, or the potatoes are not properly parcooked, the milk will curdle. It isn't serious, just less attractive.
Chop the cockles roughly, add them to the soup, pepper it and add the parsley. Taste for saltiness, (it shouldn't need any as the bacon and cockles are both naturally salty.
Serve with ships biscuits, which you can break into the chowder. Water biscuits or crackers will substitute.
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