Snail and Mushroom Stew

A hunt through your store-cupboard may well provide the ingredients for this quick dish.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz / 230 g can shelled snails
  • ¼ pt / 140 ml good dry white wine
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ oz / 15 g butter
  • 1 level tsp cornflour or potato flour
  • ¾ pt / 430 ml single cream or full-cream milk
  • 1 jar (about 14 oz / 395 g) wild mushrooms
  • 2 oz / 60 g tender greens, shredded juice and grated zest of ½ lemon
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Method

Drain and thoroughly rinse the snails. Put them in a bowl and cover them with the white wine. Fry the onion and celery in the olive oil and butter until soft. Drain the snails, reserving the wine. Mix the cornflour or potato flour with a little of the white wine, and pour the rest over the onion and celery. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 2–3 minutes. Stir in the blended cornflour or potato flour until the mixture thickens. Add the cream, the mushrooms and the snails. Bring gently to simmering point, then stir in the greens. Once the mixture simmers again, add a little lemon juice and grated lemon zest, salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Serve the stew on toast or in shallow bowls with bread fried in olive oil or butter, or with steamed new potatoes. The greens you use can, of course, be varied depending on the time of year. Try lettuce, spinach, rocket, watercress, sorrel, or even nettles and dandelions, provided you pick them far away from our lead-polluted roadsides.