In the winter, a game terrine is a great standby. It can be made several days in advance, just keep it wrapped in greaseproof paper in the fridge and slice it thickly when still chilled then serve it with little embellishment other than a few cornichon gherkins and this year we’ve been enjoying it with my Sweet and Spicy Plum Chutney. A glass of chilled Tio Pepe sherry goes down a treat too.
It does look rather ambitious, but with care and attention, this terrine is remarkably easy to make. Here’s how:
4 fresh pheasant breasts – skinned
350g minced belly pork
500g smoked pancetta rashers
120g golden sultanas
120g fresh skinned chestnuts (the kind you get in vacuum packs)
1 tbsp Armagnac
1tbs of chopped fresh parsley, sage and thyme
Grated zest of a tangerine
2tsp grainy mustard
Sea salt and black pepper
Olive oil for greasing
Using kitchen paper, carefully smear the inside of a terrine dish or loaf tin with the olive oil.
Soak the sultanas in the Armagnac for about 20 minutes
Stretch the pancetta rashers lengthwise with a palette knife and line the base of the terrine dish width-wise so the ends of the rashers hang over each side. The rashers should overlap a little in the dish.
Whizz up the herbs with the mustard in a food processor
Keep the two best-looking pheasant breasts aside and roughly chop the other two on a board
Add the minced pork belly, chopped pheasant, the chestnuts, the sultanas, the tangerine zest, a good teaspoon of sea salt and several turns of the pepper mill to the herbs in the food processor
Whizz the mixture up on ‘pulse’ until you have a rough mixture, it really must not be smooth at all.
Remove the blade from the processor and with your hands pack about half of the mixture firmly into the terrine dish. Flatten it down with your fingers. Lay the two pheasant breast lengthwise on the top and then place the rest of the mixture on the top, pressing down to smooth.
Bring the bacon rasher ends together across the top of the terrine, making sure they overlap.
Cover the top with greaseproof paper and put the lid on top. If you don’t have a lid, just trim the greaseproof paper to fit the size of the container.
Seal the whole thing in foil and place in a deep roasting tin, with about 10cm of water in it.
Put on the central shelf of a moderate oven (about 190C) for about an hour.
Remove the container from the oven and take off the foil and greaseproof paper. Press the top of the terrine, it should feel firm and any juices will be clear.
Leave to cool.
Carefully (with the help of a palette knife if necessary) invert the terrine on to a plate. The ‘tucked over’ ends of the pancetta will now be under the terrine and you should have a nice neat looking parcel.
Wrap the terrine in fresh greaseproof paper and leave it in the fridge until you need it.