At Home with Ben
Mark Roper

I generally see pipis in fishermen's bait boxes for catching whiting. They are easily found on most beaches and when purged of sand they are delicious. You can wash them in repeated changes of seawater.

Remember, it’s best to cook these molluscs quickly to avoid making them chewy. If you don’t fancy the hunt and labour of collecting your own pipis, buy some clams or mussels. For the white fish, look for fish that’s soft and flakes – snapper or ling would be good.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg pipis, purged
750ml dry white wine
80g butter
1 leek, diced, white part only
2 sticks celery, diced
250g sweet-cured streaky bacon, diced
2 potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 bunch thyme
600ml cream
1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
100ml Clarified butter
2 handful cubed stale bread
1 garlic clove
500g diced white fish
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve


  1. Cook the pipis in batches by warming the white wine and steaming them for about 2 minutes, until they’re just open. Discard any pipis that haven't opened. Remove the meat from the shells, keeping the liquid and meat separate.
  2. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and celery and gently cook for 10 minutes, without colouring, until soft and sweet. Reduce the heat to low–medium, add the bacon and potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Sprinkle the bacon and vegetables with the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the thyme and gradually pour in the pipi liquid, stirring continuously, until you have a smooth, slightly thick soup.
  4. Cook over low heat for 5–8 minutes, or until the potato is tender, then add the cream. Adjust the seasoning with a touch of lemon and salt and pepper.
  5. To make the croutons, place the clarified butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. When hot, add the clove of garlic. When the garlic starts to colour, fry the cubes of stale bread until just golden. Drain and season with salt and pepper.
  6. When ready to serve the chowder, add the diced fish and simmer for 3–5 minutes, until the fish is cooked. Add the pipi meat just before serving – make sure you only just warm it through for 1–2 minutes.
  7. To serve, garnish each bowl with the croutons and chopped parsley.
At Home with Ben
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