Sunday, 19 July 2009

Northumbrian Cockle Soup

A classic North of England soup originally the cockles were boiled in seawater as we still do (sort of) we use a good Cornish sea salt added to our water. Almost everyone has his or her own version of this classic dish and this is ours.

Serves: 6
Time: 20 minutes, don’t forget that a good dish takes time, nature doesn’t rush so neither should you

You Will Need:

  • 40-50 Cockles (You can use Clams)
  • 1 Ounce, Butter
  • 1 Ounce, Plain Flour
  • 1 Pint, Full Fat Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons, Onion, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons, Celery, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Tablespoons, Chopped Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons, Parsley, Chopped Plus Extra For Garnish
  • 4-6 Tablespoons, Cream
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste
Method:
Clean the cockle shells very well under cold running water, discarding any that are already open. Place the cockles in a large saucepan and cover with cold, well-salted water. Bring slowly to the boil, shaking the saucepan from time to time. As soon as the cockles are open, they are ready Do not over-cook, as this will toughen them.
Allow the cockles to cool in the stock, then strain, keep back the stock, and remove the cockles from their shells using a sharp knife, strain the cooled stock again and make up to 1 ½ pints with water if necessary.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, gradually add the cockle stock, stirring to prevent lumps forming, bring to the boil then stir in the milk. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the parsley and pepper, and then stir in the cockles.
Heat through thoroughly and pour into 4-6 soup bowls. Swirl a tablespoon, of cream into each bowl and garnish with a little parsley.
Serve with crusty bread.