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Happy Christmas everyone, hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend with lots of yummy food. I’ve had a great time with friends and family, cooking some traditional Christmassy food and drinks (snowball anyone?)

We had this terrine for our starter on Christmas day and have been eating the leftovers since. Its quite time intensive but it looks impressive and can all be made a few days in advance. It’s adapted from a recipe in Mireille Johnston’s French Cookery Course.

Back home in Somerset, I got to go to the new Pyne’s butcher super-shop in North Petherton, it’s very impressive and the largest butchers I’ve ever been too, selling amazing amounts of meat whist still having great, friendly customer service. I wish there was something like it in Cambridge, although my little butchers does the job too.

Country-Style Terrine

  • 225g chopped chicken livers
  • 225g diced stewing veal
  • 225g streaky bacon
  • 10-15 rashers of smoked streaky bacon (for lining the tin)
  • 100g diced pork shoulder
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground juniper berries
  • grated nutmeg
  • 4 crushed cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves, ground
  • 1 onion
  • 2 eggs
  • a good splash of brandy
  • a smaller splash of sloe gin
  • 5 tbsps white wine

You will also need a 2 litre loaf tin (or a special terrine mould) and at least 4 days before you want to serve the terrine.

Firstly, coarsely chop the bacon, veal, livers and pork and add the juniper, thyme, nutmeg, bay leaf, garlic, sloe gin and brandy along with a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.

Taken by Joe Sharratt

The next day, fry the diced onion in some olive oil until soft and stir into the meat mixture. Using a food processor, chop two thirds of the meat mixture until smooth (the consistency of sausage meat). Using scissors or a knife, chop the remaining meat into small chunks and combine with the smoother meat. Add the beaten eggs and wine and mix well.

Now to line the terrine tin; stretch the bacon rashers out with your hands or over a knife and line the terrine tin, leaving some at the edges to fold over the top. Fill the tin up halfway then add a layer of chicken breast, sliced lengthways. Add the remaining meat to fill the tin then fold over the bacon rashers. Add some more on top if needed to cover it up.

Place a sheet of oiled foil on top and seal tightly. Place in a large roasting tray and fill with enough hot water to come half way up the terrine. Put this in an oven pre-heated to 180 degrees c for 2 hours.

Next (I told you it was a long process!), remove the terrine from the oven, uncover and leave to cool for an hour. Now you need to compress it to make it more pate-like and easier to slice – if you aren’t using a terrine mould, the best way to do this is to put a piece of cardboard on top and compress with a brick, wrapped in a plastic bag (a heavy tin would also do).

Leave it like this for about 4 hours then remove the brick and cardboard, cover in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 2 days. this lets the flavours mingle and mature.

To serve, dip the tin in hot water to release the terrine then turn out onto a plate. there may be some jelly which you can discard.

And there you go, a very lengthy process, but definitely worth the wait. Serve with some thin toast or crusty bread. It is pretty garlicy, so you may want to reduce the amount of garlic if you’re not a fan. It is French though!

A very merry Christmas to you all, and a happy 2012. Ax