Pork, Rabbit & Orange Terrine
Terrines are part of a rich tradition of French cuisine. Along with pates, they are mainstays of rustic, satisfying fare that has endured the waves of culinary high art and fashionable fare. Perhaps it is because this dish is so versatile, and can be made in a variety of ways with different ingredients, it has endeared itself to diners of many different cultures. In this article, we’ll discuss the history of the dish and offer a delicious interpretation that you can make in your own kitchen.
Bricklaying in the Larder
The terrine takes its name from the distinctive earthenware dish—as deep as it is wide, and twice as long—and the French word for earth. While you may use the traditional dish, all the experts will tell you that a loaf pan will do in a pinch. The dish is not as important as the process by which the terrine is formed. Because it is a dish intended to make use of otherwise undesirable portions of meat or vegetables, while at the same time preserving them, the terrine was understandably popular in the centuries before refrigeration.
It’s important to think of the terrine as a technique, rather than a specific dish. Fruit and vegetable terrines, game meat, or offal remaining after the slaughter of a farm animal can all be used. This is why there’s no national terrine recipe in France. It likely emerged as a useful way to make the most out of scarce or scanty resources, as so many of the most delicious preparations are. The terrine technique may not have originated or been exclusive to France, since we see many different ethnic variants from England to countries in Eastern Europe. It is clear, however, that the French perfected it, elevating the recipe of need into a high art.
• 1kg Butcherman Pork Mince
• 250g Butcherman Pork back fat
• 550g Butcherman Prosciutto
• 550g Buthcmerna Rabbit meat
• 1 large orange
• 7g allspice
• 6g fresh thyme, chopped coarsely
• 70ml cognac
• Salt and pepper to taste
Have your butcher break up your whole rabbit into legs, forequarters and tenderloins—keeping the bulk of the carcass for any remaining meat. Strip the bones of meat and dice it into uniform 3mm cubes. You may discard the bones. Dice the pork fat into 3mm cubes, as well for an even consistency.
In a large bowl, mix the rabbit meat, minced pork, and diced back fat together with spices, thyme, orange juice from one orange, and the cognac. Mix lightly and cover closely with plastic, pressing the plastic wrap down over the meat so it does not oxidize. Marinate this in the refrigerator for four to six hours.
If you fear the prosciutto will stick to your terrine dish, you may line the inside with fine cheesecloth. Traditionally, grape leaves were often used, since the season of herd culling and the grape harvest often overlapped. Simply make sure your cheesecloth is cut into three rectangles with enough to overlap the top of the meat mix and prosciutto. However, a good coat of spray on the interior of your pan should prevent the thin meat from sticking.
Line your terrine or bread pan with the prosciutto, leaving enough hanging over the sides to fold back over the top of the filled pan and “tuck in” your terrine. Then, fill the pan with your rabbit and pork mixture, using your hands to firmly press the filling into all the corners and prevent air pockets. Once it’s packed all the way to the top, fold the tail ends of the prosciutto over the top and pat them down. If you don’t have a lidded terrine dish and are using a bread pan, simply wrap with foil.
In a casserole or deep baking tray, place a tea towel beneath your terrine and then fill it with hot water. The tray should be deep enough to accommodate a water level halfway up the side of the terrine. Place in a preheated 130C oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 62C.
Remove the terrine from the water bath and cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the foil, and store in the fridge with pie weights atop the terrine for no less than 12 hours. To serve, turn the terrine out and gently detach it from the pan onto a serving platter. Slice and enjoy.