Fancy something a bit different for supper? This traditional New England style Chowder tastes amazing and, served in a bread roll, is almost mess free!
There's a bit of chopping required up front, but after that it's really straightforward to cook in a single pot.
Oil (or bacon, chopped into small lardons, if you've got some)
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Leek, sliced
1 Celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
450g Potatoes - diced into 1cm cubes
250g Double Cream
500g Fish Stock
1kg Pollock Fillets (or other white fish)
500g Fresh Cockles in their shells - optional
6 Crusty Rolls (ideally about 15cm wide and 10 cm tall)
2 bay leaves
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh dill, chopped
Ground black pepper
Lava Bread (a Welsh delicacy made from seaweed) - optional
Wash the cockles thoroughly and throw any with cracked or damaged shells away. They should all be firmly shut, so how any away that are wide open or don’t close when tapped on the side of the sink or bowl. Put them in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Swish them around and then drain the water, repeating the process three times to get rid of any sand.
Add the oil to a pan over a medium heat (alternatively, if you've got bacon to hand, fry bacon in the pan until all the fat has rendered out and spoon out the crispy bits leaving the tasty fat behind - you can sprinkle the crispy bacon bits over the top of the soup when you serve it!).
Fry the onions & garlic for a few minutes until they start to soften and then add the leeks, sweetcorn and celery, and cook for around 5-10 minutes.
Stir in a couple of tablespoons of flour to help thicken the soup and then, pour in the potatoes and stock, and tuck in the bay leaves. If the stock doesn’t cover the potatoes, add just enough water (or a splash of white wine if you have some to hand!) to cover them. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, covering the pan if possible, and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes, until they start to soften.
Reduce the heat to low and season with pepper, and then add the fish and cockles and cook over low heat for around 10 minutes.
In the meantime, slice the very top off each roll and scoop out the soft bread with your fingers - squashing the remaining bread into the sides and bottom to create a bowl.
Once the fish has cooked and the cockles have opened, stir in the cream and taste for salt and pepper (and fish out the bay leaves if you can spot them!).
Serve the chowder in the hollowed out bread rolls, with a sprinkle of fresh dill and parsley and, if you have it, as well as a dollop of Lava Bread on top (it acts as a natural salt and gives an additional depth of flavour). You can also sprinkle the bacon bits on top if you have them.