✓Gluten-free ✓Grain-free ✓Low-carb ✓Dairy-free ✓Nut-free alternative
We made this dish as the centrepiece for a 25th birthday dinner for an ex-vegetarian. Although it took a while to prepare it was so worth it, feeding four of us at three sittings, with enough left over for packed lunches. In the birthday meal shown above, the terrine (left) was served with stuffed portobello mushroom (bottom), cheesy leeks (right) and a glass of proscecco. Happy Birthday indeed!
Served hot as a meatloaf, this would also make a great side dish for Christmas or a family Sunday roast, but it is particularly good served cold with pickles, salad, olives or tomatoes, perhaps for a garden lunch or as part of a buffet.
The recipe below can be varied in many ways. The key to this dish is three textures of meat: lamb’s liver provides a fine-textured paste, duck breasts provide large chunks, and pork mince gives an intermediate texture. Any liver, mince and tender muscle meat could be used. The other ingredients are there either for their flavour or to help with binding, so these too can be altered, depending on what you have at hand. The bacon wrap provides an attractive and nutritious textural crust, but I think it would work without the bacon, or with a crust of seeds or nuts instead. But if it’s a handsome dish you are looking for, stick to bacon!
Recipe: Terrine – serves 8 to 12
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 5 small garlic cloves, chopped
- 250g lambs liver, chopped
- 2 small eggs
- 50g chestnut flour
- 80ml Port (or red wine)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until well blended
- 4 x ducks breasts (approx 700g total), sliced into 5 strips
- 20g chestnut flour (or similar, e.g. buckwheat flour) seasoned with salt and black pepper
- 500g pork mince
- 50g dried cranberries
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Approx 400g of streaky bacon of your choice (I used Sainsbury’s ‘taste the difference’ dry cured unsmoked)
Dust the pieces of duck breast in the seasoned flour.
In a large bowl, combine pork mince, cranberries, sage and seasoning with your hands. Add the blended liver mixture (see step 1 above) and mix both liver and mince together, but not terribly thoroughly. Add in the duck breasts, so that they are distributed throughout, as below.
BTW, the dried cranberries absorb some of the juices as the terrine is cooking and help prevent it becoming too moist.
Grease a loaf tin, then line with rashers of bacon, stretched in order to cover three sides of the tin. When doing the two ends, leave long strips hanging over the edge to cover the top of the terrine when filled. The exact number of rashers you will need depends on the width of your rashers and the dimensions of your tin, but it should look something like this:
Scoop the terrine mix into the lined tin. This is best done by hand so you can align the long pieces of duck breast along the tin. When the terrine is served each slice will be nicely dotted with sections of duck.
When full, fold the bacon tails, sides and ends, over the top to seal the terrine. Finish with a final layer of bacon over the top.
Tip: If you have too much mixture to fit your tin, make some mini-terrines in ramekins. This is what I did, and these were eaten cold, with pickles and salad. Fab!
Cover the top of the tin with thick foil and tuck tightly around the rim to keep the moisture in.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC (320º F, gas mark 4). Cook for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 140ºC (280º F, gas mark 2) and cook for a further 1 hour. 75 mins in all.
Tip: If you are concerned about overdone bacon on the bottom of the tin you can place it in a roasting tin with water in, in the oven. This step is probably not necessary, however, but it was recommended in one of the many recipes I took inspiration from. Ours didn’t burn, but instead, our terrine ended up with a ‘bikini-line’ where the water line was, and the colour changed half way up. An interesting look, but next time I might just leave out the water bath and bake it in the usual way, on the oven shelf.
Remove from the oven. Take off the foil lid (avoiding steam burns). Gently ease a blunt knife round the tin to loosen the contents. Place your chosen serving dish over the loaf tin, then, holding the tin and plate closely together, using oven gloves or a cloth, invert, in such a way as the juices do not splash you (Wear an apron!) The loaf should drop out onto your dish. This could be decorated in some way, with herbs or salad, or just a parsley garnish, but I left it bare.
As you can see, mine has a bi-colour appearance because I used a water bath. I think it would be more appealing if it were the darker colour all over.
The terrine slices easily with a sharp carving knife and stays together. Each slice has a nice marbling of the various meats, and very attractive pieces of duck meat. The rich savoury aromas set everyone’s appetite into top gear!
We served the terrine hot the first time (so, technically it was a meat loaf), with stuffed Portobello mushrooms and cheesy garden leaks, and it all went down a treat! The remainder we ate cold, with various accompaniments.
This is the kind of dish one can enjoy in a great variety of ways, and hit the spot every time. It is an excellent way of getting liver into those who think they don’t like it. Since it is the single most nutritious food, finding ways to feed liver to your loved ones, should be high on any parent’s list.