It never ceases to amaze me that my son Jasper, 13 years old loves to eat just about everything including snails. He recently fulfilled one of his biggest wishes by joining an archery club and I made this soup with his help to celebrate. Its elegant fragrance and flavor remind you of the woods and fields.
“Badische Schneckensuppe” (Snail Soup from Baden) is a German specialty, which I have loved for many years and which inspired this soup. Baden is a region of Germany in the southeast corner, which includes the eastern bank of the Rhine, part of the Black Forest and shares borders with the French Alsatian region and northern Switzerland. This mixture of regions is reflected in its cuisine. Its fertile soil, the river Rhine and the Black Forest make for ideal produce, wine and game combined in much-loved hearty but refined recipes.
- 4 dozen small escargots/snails from the Burgundy region or
1 jar of Escargots a la Bourgogne equaling 200 grams net / about 7 ounces – the snails will have been conserved in a mixture of red wine, veal stock, roux, thyme and bay leaves. ****
- 2 leeks
- 1 large carrot, washed peeled and finely chopped
- 1 rib of celery, washed peeled and finely chopped
- 4 medium large potatoes, washed peeled and diced
- 1 TBSP of your favorite broth
- 2 lTBSPs of butter
- 1 TBSP of olive oil
- 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 sprig of cilantro, 2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, washed
- 125 ml / ½ cup of dry white wine
- 400 ml / 1 ½ cups veal stock or chicken stock if you prefer – veal has more flavor
- 200 ml / ¾ cup of water
- 30 grams / 1 ounce of dried cèpe / porcini mushrooms
- Fresh ground salt and pepper
- 250 ml / 1 cup of fresh cream or vegetable-based cream
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Chopped parsley for garnish – optional
- Place the diced potatoes, chopped celery and carrot in a saucepan, just cover with water, add the TBSP of broth, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer about 15-20 minutes until tender.
- Pour off most of the remaining water, leaving about 2 TBSPs of liquid and add 1 TBSP of butter. Mash with a potato masher until well mixed and sticky but do not puree. Set aside until needed.
- In the meantime, drain the snails reserving their broth.
- Peel off the first 1-2 leaves of the leeks and chop off the tops that are tough and dark green. Slice into thin slices about 1.5 cm / ½ inch. Wash thoroughly to remove any grit or sand. May need to be done twice.
- Warm up 1/3 of the veal stock in a small pot and add the dried mushrooms, Cover and let sit about 15-20 minutes. Then remove the mushrooms from the stock and squeeze them gently, set the stock aside and cut the mushrooms into smaller pieces and add to the snails.
- Drain the leeks making sure to leave the sand and grit in the water.
- Heat a medium-large soup pot, add 1 TBSP of butter and 1 TBSP of olive oil. Add the leeks and stir gently until coated. Add the white wine, the reserved veal stock from the mushrooms and any snail liquid you have collected, the herbs, and salt and pepper. Mix gently, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minute until leeks are very tender.
- Now take up the pot with the mashed potatoes, carrot and celery. Whisk in the rest of the veal stock, the cream and 100 ml of water. Warm up and whisk vigorously. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until warm and well combined, if it is still too thick, add more wine or water, we are after all making soup.
- Pour this mixture into the leeks, stir gently to mix.
- Add the snails and mushrooms and bring again to a boil and simmer covered for 5 minutes.
- Add the squeezed lemon juice and stir, taste and adjust the seasoning (salt and pepper) and serve with fresh chopped parsley and crusty bread.
****Mine were from Jardin’escar – Route de Dijon – 21500 Marmagne, France – if you travel through Burgundy visit their snail farm and products. Find details at http://www.cotedor-tourisme.com