Sunday, October 16, 2016

Just like the picture - chicken terrine

For me, the pathway to cooking something is often pretty random. Finding a well-priced pack of streaky bacon at Moore Wilson last week led to thoughts of chicken terrine. So I bought some chicken livers there, and next day at the supermarket I picked up some boneless, skinless thighs.
          I first made this terrine a couple of decades ago, as I explained in The Colour of Food, where it appears as duck terrine:
         "The first time Harvey roasted ducks for Christmas, I made this on Boxing Day, using a recipe for chicken terrine found in a timely present from friends: The World’s Finest Chicken, by Sonia Silver and Janis Metcalfe. Delicious with quince paste and toast."
          This time I didn't have any leftover duck, but the original recipe is for chicken only, so I thought it was well worth making. I know it's a bit silly, but what I've always loved about this terrine is the fact that, thanks to having the right dish to bake it in, it turns out looking exactly like the picture in the book. But I don't slice it in the dish, because the bacon lining means that it turns out so beautifully onto a plate (see below). I've slightly revised the recipe from my book here.

Chicken terrine

220g chicken livers
90g dry white bread to make crumbs 
350g cooked chicken (and duck if you have any)
If you have it: 50g leftover stuffing, preferably made with walnuts (if no stuffing is available, use a bit more chicken meat and bread)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
good pinch of salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon port
1 tablespoon fresh oreganum, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Enough rashers of bacon (skinny streaky ones are good) to line the terrine dish - drape them across it, down the side, across the bottom and up the other side, then fill in any gaps at the ends.

The order of the instructions here is a bit different from what's in my book, because this time I did
things in a different order, to make the best use of the food processor. 
No need to clean or rinse processor bowl between these steps - do it after you've chopped the livers.

-  Preheat oven to 190°C.
- Turn leftover bread to crumbs in the processor. Toast very lightly on a flat metal tray in the oven for a few minutes while it is heating up.
- Finely chop the herbs in the processor.
- Put herbs and toasted breadcrumbs into a large bowl.
- Mince the cooked meat in the processor and add to herbs and crumbs.
- Coarsely chop the livers briefly in the processor. Use a spatula to get them out and add them to the bowl. Stir into meat, herbs and crumbs.
- Add crushed garlic, seasonings, brandy, port, and  beaten egg, and mix everything together well. Taste to check seasoning.
 Use bacon rashers to line the base and sides of an oval ceramic terrine dish or non-stick loaf tin (approximately 25cm long, 15 cm wide, 6 cm deep).
 Spread mixture into dish evenly over bacon lining, and smooth the top.

-  Cover with a tightly fitting lid or aluminium foil.
-  Place terrine in a large roasting or baking dish. Boil a jugful of water. Either pour enough hot water into the tin to come about two-thirds up the sides of terrine, and transfer carefully to the oven; or (this can be easier) put tin into oven and then pour the water around the terrine dish. 
-  Bake for 1¼ hours, till a very thin knife or sewer inserted into the middle of the terrine comes out clean.
·      Remove lid or foil and carefully pour off any liquid fat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
(It really does need to be kept overnight to let the flavours develop.)
- Take out of refrigerator at least an hour ahead of serving. Turn out onto a serving plate and slice as required.

Those pretty yellow slices on the side in the photo are mustard fruits - you can buy them in Italian delis. Quince paste is good too. I served this for lunch with a papaya, pear, beansprout and baby spinach salad.