Gardener’s Revenge (2 of 3) Preparing Homegrown Escargot

Even though they’ve been boiled already, once out of the shell, snails still need to be cooked. There are lots variations on what exactly escargot can be poached in, but the goal is essentially to cheat a court bouillon. It is a matter of preference, but I go for a red wine base.

2 cups water
2 cups red wine (Beaujolais)
white parts of one leek, stalk of celery, carrot
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp peppercorns
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp salt
7-10 cloves garlic

You’ll thank yourself later for taking the shortcut of not chopping. Instead of going with a full-blown mirepoix of finely chopped vegetables softened in butter, soften chunky carrot and celery sticks and the leek in a little pat of butter, adding the garlic toward the end. Add everything else and bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to low.

Once the snail meat has been added to the poaching liquid, it needs to simmer for 60-90 minutes, depending on the size of the snails. On my ranch, the biggest ones get a little smaller than golfballs, which puts their meat at “medium” by French standards of sizing. So I poach them for 75 minutes.

After 75 minutes of simmering...

Use a slotted spoon to remove the snails to a bowl. Discard the rest of the poaching liquid and vegetables. Rinse the poached snails in cold water to chill them enough for handling.

Snails can be frozen at this point.

And now to cram them into shells with butter and garlic!

3 thoughts on “Gardener’s Revenge (2 of 3) Preparing Homegrown Escargot

    1. They smell like like garlic and red wine. Not much subtlety, actually. They take on a much darker colour too, thanks to the wine.


  1. Hi. I tried this last year and I’m doing it again today. The snails are poaching right now. My question is: some websites describe cutting off the “tortillon” — the curly screw like tip of their “tails” and just leaving the body/foot. Others describe cutting off the foot. You can’t do both with these snails because they’re too small. You would have nothing left. I notice that you do neither. You leave the whole snail intact. I’m using some store-bought shells to pack them in, and they came with a can of snails. I’m not using the canned ones, but I opened it to see what they look like. The tortillon is removed. Interesting. I’m leaving mine whole like yours. Just wondering if you could comment on this whole discussion of what parts, if any, to cut off. Thanks!


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