---------- Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.02
  
       Title: BLACK BEAN RAGOUT WITH SNAILS
  Categories: Chinese, Snails, Appetizers
       Yield: 4 servings
  
     1/2 c  Dried black beans*
       1    Ham hock
   1 1/2 tb Chinese fermented blk. beans
       1 tb Butter
     1/4 c  Julienne of fresh fennel
       1    Clove garlic; crushed
     1/4 c  Hot salsa
   1 1/2 tb Red wine vinegar
       2 tb Bucheron or Montrachet*
       8    Thin slices French bread
      28    Snails (available in cans)
     1/4 c  Julienned roasted red pepper
       1 tb Chopped fresh cilantro
  
   *Note: Dried black beans should be soaked overnight in
   cold water to cover. Amount of Bucheron or Montrachet
   may be increased to 1-1/2 times amount given.
   
   Drain the beans and put them in a 2-quart saucepan
   with the ham hock and fermented black beans.  Add cold
   water to cover ingredients by 2 inches. Bring the
   water to a boil, skimming of any froth that rises to
   the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3
   hours, until the beans are tender. Remove and discard
   the ham hock.  Reserve the beans and about 1 cup of
   the liquid, or enough to give the beans a stew like
   consistency.
   
   Preheat the broiler.
   
   Heat the butter in a large skillet.  Add the fennel
   and cook over moderate heat, for about 5 minutes,
   until tender.  Add the beans, the bean liquid, the
   garlic, salsa and vinegar and stir.  Cook over low
   heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
   
   Spread the goat cheese on the bread slices.  Place
   under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes, just until
   golden.
   
   Taste the beans and adjust the seasonings if needed.
   Add the snails and cook for 5 minutes, until they are
   heated through.  Remove the beans from the heat and
   stir in the roasted peppers.
   
   Divide the ragout among 4 serving plates and sprinkle
   with cilantro. Place 2 cheese-topped croutons at the
   sides of each plate.
   
   Source: Chef Jimmy Schmidt.  From “American Bistro” an
   Irene Chalmers book, Contemporary Books, Inc.
  
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