Stewed Snails with Mushrooms (Cassolette d'Escargots aux Champignons)
Preparation time: 45 min.
Preparation of fresh snails is a lengthy process. So most of us will resort to the canned variety. Nothing wrong with it! Count at least 20 small snails per serving. Use small snails, if you can. In France I buy the Escargots Petits Gris, a very tasty variety with no fat.
- 80-100 small snails
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 250 gr (1/2 lbs) fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) light cream
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- dash of nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
- bread croutons to garnish
Bring chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer. Drain canning liquid from snails and run them under cold water. Drain again. Add them to the chicken stock and simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain the snails from cooking stock, saving the stock. Put them aside separately.
In the meantime, slice the mushrooms and sprinkle them with the lemon juice to avoid oxidation.
In another saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic until glazed, about 3-5 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until most of mushroom's liquid has evaporated.
Add the white wine and continue cooking until cooking liquids are reduced to half. Add the flour and cook while stirring constantly for 2 minutes longer. Raise heat to high and add the snail stock in a stream stirring briskly to avoid clumping. Bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Return snails to the onion-mushroom stew. Add the light cream and vinegar and stir until the mixture thickens a bit. Do not let it boil. Add a dash of nutmeg and grind over some fresh pepper. Adjust for salt if necessary.
Serve snail mushroom stew in warmed deep plates, sprinkle with parsley and croutons on top.