Terrine is a coarse ground pate that is baked in a loaf pan inside a water bath. Terrines normally incorporate two types of meats and use dried fruits, in the center, such as figs, apricots or cherries.
The process of making a terrine is not difficult, only involved since you will be utilizing a few preparation techniques. The yield is more than adequate, so you will have plenty to eat, share and even freeze.
The first technique you will be using is that of creating your own blend of spices in the form of quatre epices. Quatre epices is a mixture of four spices that is typically used in making pates and terrines. There are a couple of variations, but the most common one, and the one I use in this recipe consists of black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Another key step in creating the perfect terrine is to marinate the “center meat” in this case turkey, for a few hours before you bake. Marinating allows for the flavors to really soak into the meat that is placed in strips in the center of the terrine and then released during the cooking process.
Bacon lines loaf pan to become the outer layer of the terrine when finished. How many recipes do you run into where you can line something with bacon? You had me at “bacon”. Yummy!!
Before filling the loaf pan it is critical to check the seasoning of the ground meat. This next technique or process is called a quenelle test. This process allows you to ascertain that the meat is properly seasoned. Because you cannot taste the meat raw, this is a very important step. You cannot cook the ground meat in a pan as the searing it will change the flavor and it would render out most of the fat. Take a small piece of meat mixture and roll it into an oval shape. Place in a ziploc bag, and drop it into a pot of scalding water. Allow it to cook through. Remove the bag from water and let it cool to to touch. Taste. Remember, this dish is baked, then served cold, the seasoning needs to be somewhat stronger that what a hot food would require. You want the flavor of the fat as part of the dish and you must keep the ground meat mixture cold at all times or the fat will render out. Place your grinder blade, die and hopper in the freezer before beginning. Grind the meat into a metal bowl sitting in ice if possible. Put the bowl of ground meat into the refrigerator while you perform the quenelle.
The terrine has to be assembled like a strata. Fill the bacon-lined pan half way with the ground pork. Place a layer of the marinated turkey slices and then dried apricots. Do those sliced apricots look like gummy worms? Sorry. Cover with pork up to 1/2 ” from the top. Fold the bacon strips toward the center.
The last process is the cooking of the terrine in a water bath (bain Marie in French). This allows it to cook slowly and moisturizes the meat while it is cooked.
When you bring the terrine out to cool, place loaf pans on a cooling rack and place a brick over it. Kind of strange? Yes. But the terrine has to have some weight to compress it. We use the standard red brick wrapped in foil but you could use a come heavy canned items if you can keep them from rolling off.
Serve terrine with cornichons (small gherkins), sliced baguette, and whole grain mustard. Your friends will be impressed beyond belief.
You can dish out individual portions. Decorative plates create a beautiful presentation.