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Welsh Cockle Pie

Cooked fresh cockles have a flavour quite unlike those which have been doused in vinegar - a real taste of the sea. in Wales, for centuries the 'cockle women' have gathered them in strong baskets at low tide. They are taken to co-operative factories where they are boiled before being sold from vans and market stalls.

ingredients

serves 4
25 g (1 oz) butter
225 g (8 oz) streaky bacon, rinded and chopped
1 medium onion, skinned and chopped
50 g (2 oz) plain flour
568 ml (1 pint) fresh milk
900 ml (1 1/2 pints) cooked cockles
60 ml (4 tbsp) dry white wine
45 ml (3 tbsp) snipped fresh chives
salt and pepper
100 g (4 oz) fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
75 g (3 oz) Caerphilly cheese, grated

method

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the bacon and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened.

2. Add the flour and cook for a further minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens, boils and is smooth.

3. Add the cockles, wine and chives. Season to taste and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

4. Turn the mixture into a pie dish. Mix together the breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Sprinkle on top of the mixture.

5. Cook under a hot grill for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Accompany with a salad.

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