- 1½ kg clams or a mixture of clams and cockles
- 50g butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 150g unsmoked bacon lardons, cubed pancetta or chopped streaky bacon
Bacon is pork that has been cured one of two ways: dry or wet. It can be bought as both rashers…
- 1 onion, finely chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- sprig of thyme
This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 150ml milk
One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…
- 150ml double cream
- 2 medium potatoes – about 250 grams, cut into cubes
- chopped parsley and crusty bread to serve
One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…
Rinse the clams in several changes of cold water and drain well. Tip the clams into a large pan with 500ml of water. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 mins until the clams have just opened. Tip the contents of the pan into a colander over a bowl to catch the clam stock. When cool enough to handle, remove the clams from their shells – reserving a handful of empty shells for presentation if you want. Strain the clam stock into a jug, leaving any grit in the bottom of the bowl. You should have around 800ml stock.
Heat the butter in the same pan and sizzle the bacon for 3-4 mins until it starts to brown. Stir in the onion, thyme and bay and cook everything gently for 10 mins until the onion is soft and golden. Scatter over the flour and stir in to make a sandy paste, cook for 2 mins more, then gradually stir in the clam stock then the milk and the cream.
Throw in the potatoes, bring everything to a simmer and leave to bubble away gently for 10 mins or until the potatoes are cooked. Use a fork to crush a few of the potato chunks against the side of the pan to help thicken – you still want lots of defined chunks though. Stir through the clam meat and the few clam shells, if you've gone down that route, and simmer for a minute to reheat. Season with plenty of black pepper and a little salt, if needed, then stir through the parsley just before ladling into bowls or hollowed-out crusty rolls.