Traditional Scottish recipe: Brose with cockles and mussels by Neil Forbes

In time for World Porridge Day (10 October), Neil Forbes shares his recipe for brose with cockles and mussels.

  • 30-40 minutes
  • 2
  • Easy
Neil says: "In Auchterless, Aberdeenshire, a school’s log book notes that on the 1st March 1881 the children celebrated ‘brose and bannock day’ in their parish. I adore brose. I’m making it here with leeks and mussels, but the old way with oatmeal, good beef stock, beef fat and salt is also delicious. It’s easy to make, and it keeps very well. Just reheat with a little stock or water if there are any leftovers."

Ingredients

  • 100g pinhead oats, soaked overnight in cold water, just enough to cover
  • 1 handful mussels, beards removed and washed
  • 1 handful Barra cockles, thoroughly rinsed under running water
  • 1/2 leek, small diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2  knobs butter
  • A pinch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Some pepper dulse seaweed as a garnish
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Good salt and pepper

Method

For the brose

Place a large pot on the hob and get it quite hot. Add the mussels, put the lid on and shake the pot.

The mussels should be open and be cooked in a minute or two. Remove the mussels and strain the liquid through a fine sieve. Set both aside.

Give the pan a quick rinse and sweat the onion and leek in half the butter until just soft.

This should take 3 to 5 minutes.

Drain the oats and add them to the pot.

Season with salt and pepper.

Stir then add the mussel stock and a little water if required.

You are aiming for a thick porridge consistency.

Taste the oats as you go and keep stirring, as it is prone to sticking.

After 10 to 15 minutes cooking and stirring, add the cockles to the pot and cover with the lid.

The shellfish will open with the heat of the cooked oats.

Then add the cooked mussels and season with salt, pepper and good squeeze of lemon juice.

Stir in the remaining butter.

Be gentle with this dish – don’t mix it too much but do be careful of sticking.

Spoon the brose into warm bowls and garnish with parsley and pepper dulse seaweed.

brose recipe

About The Author

Neil Forbes

Neil is one of Scotland's most passionate chefs who describes cooking as an “emotional experience that uses all the senses”. Born into a family of chefs, it was his granny”s soup that first inspired a young Neil to get behind the stove, and inspires him still.

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About The Author

Neil Forbes

Neil is one of Scotland's most passionate chefs who describes cooking as an “emotional experience that uses all the senses”. Born into a family of chefs, it was his granny”s soup that first inspired a young Neil to get behind the stove, and inspires him still.