Cockle and bacon chowder

Valentine Warner uses British ingredients to make a deliciously creamy chowder, the stew-like soup of North American cuisine
By Valentine Warner
Cockle and bacon chowder
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • about 500 g cockles
  • 2 large knobs butter
  • 6 thick rashers bacon, diced
  • 1 handful chopped thyme
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 2 corn on the cobs
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 3 sticks celery, strings removed, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 4 medium waxy potatoes, cut into 1cm chunks
  • 150 ml double cream
  • salty cream crackers, to serve (optional)


1. Rinse the cockles in cold water and discard any that are broken. Place them in a large pan with a tight-fitting lid and steam the cockles until they open. Discard any that remain closed. Strain the cockles, keeping all the juices for adding to the chowder.

2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan or stock pot and add the bacon. Fry for a few minutes then add the thyme, a good grinding of black pepper and some freshly grated nutmeg.

3. Peel the papery husks from the corn and stand each cob on a wooden board. Cut off the kernels with a knife and add them to the bacon. Add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, parsley and potatoes then cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.

4. Remove the cockles from their shells. Add the reserved cockle juices to the pot of vegetables (don't add the cockle meat yet) and stir well. Replace the lid and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

5. Add the cream to the pot, then stir in the cockles and allow them to warm through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required and serve accompanied by salty crackers, if desired.

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