I was always afraid of cooking terrines! The endless preparation, the risk of collapse – there was much which could go wrong.
I have never been a great fan of smooth terrines or pâté (unless it is a big hunk of foie gras) – believing they can hide a multitude of sins. I favor course, rustic terrines with big, punchy flavours.
Typically French, country pork terrine (or pâté de campagne) benefits from a big splash of cognac. Certainly not refined, but all the more delicious for it. It is surprisingly simple to prepare, ensure you leave it to settle in the fridge overnight to allow the flavours to develop. Best served with toasted Boule and homemade chutney (gooseberry is great). Here is my take on the classic country terrine.
Country Pork Terrine
For the Base: 200g Minced Pork Belly, 400g Minced Pork Shoulder, 400g Minced Pigs Liver, 1tsp Ground Allspice, 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves, Large Swig Cognac
For the Onion Mixture: 2tbsp Butter, 2 Medium Onions Finely Chopped, 1 Bay leaf, 1 Thyme Sprig Leaves Removed
To Finish: 250g Streaky Bacon, Handful Shelled Pistachios, 1 Egg (optional)
1) Combine the base ingredients in a bowl and allow to marinade in the fridge for a few hours.
2) Meanwhile, prepare the onion mixture. Sweat the onion, thyme and bay leaf in the butter for around 10 minutes until tender. Do not allow to colour. Remove the bay leaf and leave to cool.
3) Combine the base mixture with the onion mixture and the pistachios. The mixture should be quite wet – if a little dry, add a whisked egg.
4) Preheat your oven to 160C. Line the middle of a loaf tin with a sheet of baking parchment. Line the loaf tin with the streaky bacon slices horizontally. Leave an overhang of bacon on each side.
5) Spoon the terrine mixture into the loaf tin, smoothing the top. Cover the top of the terrine with the overhanging bacon.
6) Prepare a bain-marie by filling a large roasting tin half way with boiling water. Place the loaf tin in the middle of the roasting tin. Cook in the oven at 160C for around 2 hours or until cooked.
7) Allow to cool then place in the fridge overnight before serving.
To test if done – spear the middle of the terrine with a metal skewer and hold for 10 seconds – if it comes out piping hot it is ready. For those with a thermometer – ideal internal temperature is 82C.