from one generation to the next
My friend M is like a bowerbird. He collects good quality cast offs and hand me downs and adds them to his already vast hoard. He’s choosy though, he only wants good stuff, useful stuff, and he often accepts things with an eye to passing them on. He recently offered me an almost new Le Creuset cast iron covered terrine dish that had been discarded by one of his benefactors. I traded my large, no longer used, unloved French round bottomed copper bowl for the terrine. It was a win/win deal.
Having a serious French terrine dish asked for a serious French terrine to be made. My Pork and Pistachio Terrine has been a favourite since the kids were small as have the fancy meatloaves I throw together with minced turkey or chicken. We call them terrines simply because my Mum’s meatloaf was always made with beef.
I turned to Monsieur Escoffier to get a traditional viewpoint. He helped narrow my options down to the meats I chose and whether they would be minced and/or chopped. Escoffier went to great lengths to explain that terrines, galantines and raised meat pies need a forcemeat, a binding agent to hold the feature ingredients in place. A basic terrine made entirely of forcemeat is like a plain meatloaf, but I had decided I wanted a serious looking and tasting terrine. I chose a forcemeat made with pork mince and finely chopped chicken livers to anchor diced duck breast and pork belly.
Baking the terrine in a water bath, then weighting the it while it chills guarantees a dense texture with no air pockets.
The rich flavours of my French style terrine went perfectly with pickled cherries and side dish of radicchio salad on the Christmas table. It was a sophisticated and well liked inclusion, but the best part was the leftovers which we enjoyed smashed onto toast with cornichon over the next couple of days.
High quality charcuterie, so Frenchy, so chic….
500 g pork mince, not too lean
250g chicken livers, trimmed
2 duck breasts, skin removed
500g pork belly, skin and bone removed
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
extra generous grinding black pepper
1 scant tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons, finely snipped chives
10 thin rashers of streaky bacon
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Grease a large loaf tin or covered terrine dish.
Trim the sinews from the chicken livers and finely mince them with a knife.
Cut the pork belly and the duck breasts into 1cm dice.
Using wet hands thoroughly mix together the meats, eggs and brandy. Don’t be tempted to use the mixer or processor as maintaining a chunky texture is important.
Sprinkle over the spices, seasonings and herbs then knead them through the meat. Chill until ready to bake.
Line the terrine dish with bacon rashers, leaving an the length to fold back over the top.
Pack the meat tightly into the bacon lined dish then enclose it with the bacon flaps.
Place a strip of buttered baking paper over the top, then cover with a lid or some foil.
Put the terrine dish in a deep ovenproof tray in the oven then fill the tray with boiling water until it comes half way up the side of the terrine mould.
Bake for 1 hour or until the terrine feels firm and the meat juices run clear.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
While the terrine is resting cut a piece of cardboard to fit snuggly into the top of the dish and wrap it in foil. Place the foil covered cardboard over the baking paper on top of the terrine then place some cans of food on top as weights.
Chill the terrine for 24 hours beneath the weight.
To serve, slice thickly.
Delicious with pickled cherries or cornichon.