This seafood stew is an excellent introduction to cockles. Even better, it cooks in under an hour and only takes 10 minutes of actual work – a bit at the beginning and a little more at the end.


1 large tablespoon of butter
1 teaspoon of oil
1 small leek, sliced
1 small fennel, sliced
3 sticks of celery, sliced
10 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
200ml cider
2 bay leaves
400ml fish stock
200ml double cream
500g of molluscs (clams, cockles, mussels)
200g cubed haddock
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
1 lemon

Serves 4

  1. Start by softening leeks, fennel and celery in butter and oil
  2. Season with salt and mixed herbs
  3. Allow the leeks and fennel to reduce in volume by about half, then add the chopped potatoes
  4. Add the cumin at this point followed by garlic and leave for 1 minute
  5. Pour in the cider and add the bay leaves
  6. Boil for a few minutes, then add the stock
  7. Let that simmer for about 40 minutes
  8. 30 minutes in add the double cream, continue simmering
  9. To check the stew’s progress, lift out a piece of potato and test with a knife. We want it to slide through the potato with little or no resistance
  10. Then add the shellfish; mussels, clams and cockles
  11. They should only need 4-6 minutes to cook – possibly even less
  12. Once the shells are starting to open, add the fish and stir through, replace the lid and cook for an other couple of minutes, until all the shellfish is open and the fish is cooked
  13. Just before service, add some chopped, fresh parsley, and a generous squeeze of lemon
  14. Serve garnished with a little more parsley