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Cockle and Mussel chowder with spring onions and sweet potato (as featured in Delicious magazine)

For this recipe, I use a base soup of sweet potato but if you prefer, you could use a normal potato and leek recipe.

100g butter
1 medium sized onion chopped
1 small leek chopped but not using the darker green part
1kg sweet potato, orange fleshed, peeled and cut into small dice
1 litre of light chicken stock or vegetable stock.  (will be adding mussel / clam juice later )
Pinch of nutmeg/ cayenne
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch of spring onions chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
500g mussels, cleaned and soaked
300g cockles , cleaned and soaked
200ml white wine
20g chopped chives

In a heavy sauce pan add the butter and onions, garlic, thyme and spices, cook but do not colour, add the leeks and ¾ of the sweet potato. Pour over the stock and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally to check for contact on the bottom.

In a separate saucepan place on a high heat and add the mussels, pour over the wine and cover, allow the mussels to open and then immediately drain but retain the juices, repeat with the cockles. Once cooler remove half the meat from the mussels and cockles and retain the other ones still with in their shells.

In a saucepan blanch the remaining sweet potato, dice and set aside.

Once the sweet potato in the soup has become soft, blend the mixture until smooth and pass through a sieve. Soup may now be let down with the mussel/cockle juice to your desired consistency and strength in flavour.  To serve reheat the soup adding the dice of sweet potato and the shelled mussels and cockles, season to taste .

Add the remaining in shell mussels and clams to your serving bowl with the chopped spring onion and chives and pour the warm chowder over.  Serve with warmed bread.

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