Preparation time: 45 min.
Cassolette d’Escargots aux Champignons, a traditional dish in France, much loved by many gourmets. Escargots have been a prized delicacy for their buttery flavor since Roman times. They are very popular in France, Spain, and Portugal whether as an appetizer of a sophisticated dinner or as a part of a simple farmer’s meal. Contrary to much advice, there is no need to buy fresh ones. The reality is, that many restaurants rely on canned snails. Perfectly acceptable and saves you a lot of time. Snails, like these on the photo came from a snail farm in the Northern Provence near Vaison la Romaine and according to its owner are shipped worldwide. When in France I buy the Escargots Petits Gris, a small, very tasty variety with very little fat. Count at least 20 small snails per serving.
- 80 small snails
- 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 lbs (225 g) fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup (240 ml) white wine
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) 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. Set them aside.
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 the mushrooms liquid have 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.