Cooking With Wine is on SOMM TV and features renowned chef Kate Hill as she cooks through the regions of France. With over 30 years of experience and teaching students from all over the world, episode 2 features Kate taking viewers to the Languedoc to cook Civet de Sanglier et Escargots (Wild Boar and Escargot Wine Stew). Create this speciality at home with the recipe below.
My first years in France were spent cruising the Canal du Midi. The canal runs through one of the country’s most famous regions – the Languedoc. It spans 150 miles inland from the Mediterranean coast to as far south as the Spanish border. This vast wine-growing area is one of the largest globally and includes the well-known Corbières, Minervois, and Banyuls appellations. The AOP (the newer European designation for the limited French AOC) Languedoc reaches between the cities of Nîmes and Narbonne and through the areas of Camargue and Cévennes.
There’s no better way to showcase the sun-drenched varieties of Syrah and Grenache than in a civet- a wine-based ragoût or stew. Years ago, a friend with an olive grove in nearby Catalunya told me of his problems with wild boar foraging in the groves and vineyards. The animals were notorious for knocking down dry stone walls and terraces while hunting tasty escargots or snails. The image of a wild boar and escargots sharing the same plate stayed in my mind. This recipe is the perfect unification of the deep purple fruity and spicy wines, the flora and fauna that inhabits this sunny area, and the savoir-faire of a wily hunter/cook. In a word–terroir!
Civet de Sanglier et Escargots (Wild Boar and Escargot Wine Stew)
- 1 kg of wild boar shoulder meat – on the bone or trimmed (a cut of pork shoulder from the neck, i.e. the coppa or Boston Butt can substitute)
For the marinade:
- 1 bottle of red wine from the Languedoc (typically includes Grenache, Syrah, & Mourvedre)
- 1 onion cut in half
- 6 cloves
- large bunch of fresh thyme
- 4 garlic cloves
- 12 peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves and several sprigs of serpolet (or summer savoury)
- Salted pork belly cut into lardons (thick narrow strips)
- Pigs foot, cut in half
- Onion, cut in half
- 1 dozen (or more) prepared escargot in shells: garlic, parsley, butter
- Place the boar meat in a pot and cover with the wine and marinade spices; add water as needed to just cover the meat. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Remove meat from the marinade and strain out all the spices.
In this clip from Languedoc – Grenache & Syrah, we prepare the meat for cooking after marinating it overnight.
3. Return meat to a pot with a tight-fitting lid, pour the strained marinade over the meat, add a couple more bay leaves and onion if you like. Cook slowly over low/medium heat for 2 to 3 hours. Let cool to room temperature and then let the civet rest overnight in the refrigerator (or several hours) before finishing. This resting time is essential to the meat being tender.
When Ready To Serve
- Reheat the civet slowly and let simmer over very low heat for 45 minutes or so.
2. During this time, make a creamy la cruchade (polenta) and keep it covered.
Prepare the Escargots
1. In a hot pan, brown the lardons (salted pork belly cubes), then add and heat the escargots until they are thoroughly hot.
2. Assemble the dish by ladling the cruchade/polenta on the bottom of a deep serving dish. Cover with the civet, dress with the lardons and escargots.
3. Serve with bottles of delicious wine from the Languedoc and inhale the sunny and salty Meditteranean air.
Recipe © Kate Hill. Visit katehillcooks.com for online classes, in-person programs, and tours in France.
Kate Hill is a published cookbook author, professional cook, and charcuterie teacher who has lived and shared the good food and drink of Southwest France's Gascony region for over 30 years. Her SOMM TV series, Cooking with Wine, is shot at her 18th Century French farmhouse "Camont" in Gascony, France.