Many wonderful flavors combine in this dish, a hearty combination of snails and artichokes in a garlic-tomato sauce flavored with wine and brandy. This is comfort food with a Creole accent.
- Sauce Espagnole
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Onion, Carrot, and Celery Stalk - 1 each, minced
- Flour - 2 tablespoons
- Bay Leaf - 1
- Pinch of thyme
- Garlic Clove - 1
- Cracked Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Tomato - 1, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- Hot Beef Stock - 1-1/4 cups
- Artichoke bottoms - 4
- Lemon - 1, quartered
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Garlic Cloves - 4, minced
- Carrot - 1, chopped
- Shallots - 2, minced
- Onion - 1/2, minced
- Bay Leaf - 1
- Thyme - 1/2 teaspoon
- Red Wine - 1/2 cup
- Tomatoes - 2, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- Sauce Espagnole - 1/2 cup (above)
- Snails - 2 dozen
- Brandy - 2 tablespoons
- Fennel - 1/4 cup, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Parsley - 1 tablespoon, minced
To prepare the sauce: Melt the butter in a large saute pan and add the oil. Add the onions, carrot, and celery and cook until they begin to brown. Add the flour and brown, stirring constantly. Add the bay leaf, thyme, garlic, pepper, and tomato. Simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the hot beef stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour, until reduced by half. Stir from time to time. Strain and let cool; cover and refrigerate.
To prepare the escargots: Cook the artichokes with lemon in boiling water for 10 minutes, or until still firm but cooked through. Set aside. Melt half of the butter in a saute pan and add the garlic, carrots, shallots, and onions. Simmer one minute. Stir in the bay, thyme, and half the red wine. Continue to simmer for 10 more minutes. In another saute pan, combine the tomatoes and sauce espagnole and simmer. When the vegetables are ready, pour into the pan with the tomatoes and sauce. Heat the remaining butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the drained snails; heat through. Add the remaining wine and cook to reduce by one-third. Add the brandy to the snails. Avert your face and ignite the mixture with a long kitchen match; shake the pan until the flames die down. Combine the snails and sauce and add the fennel. Simmer 5 more minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To serve: Combine the drained artichoke bottoms and snail mixture. Spoon into soup plates and garnish with chopped parsley.