Last week, we had the (dis?)pleasure of experiencing the life and death of two rabbits. This week, in the rabbits’ afterlife, I make a terrine — a kind of fancy meatloaf and the cornerstone of nose-to-tail cooking. Don’t be put off — try making a terrine. It’s easy, delicious, and sounds impressive (it is French, after all). Check out the recipe below the video.
I made the terrine shown in the video for a dinner that featured only local ingredients. Thus, you need not follow my recipe exactly, particularly when it comes to the spice. Feel free to play with flavor. Two teaspoons of spice is generally a good amount. Herbs like parsley, tarragon, or even cilantro can be added at the end as well in quantity. For this terrine I used rabbit as well as some pork rillette — a meltingly tender meat preparation — that I had previously made. The rillette isn’t necessary; but it elevates the dish a little (and takes a lot more time). I wouldn’t make it just for this terrine, but if you want to give it a try, follow the fine example from Wrightfood. The terrine is a chance to get creative!
2 rabbits de-boned
3/4 lb pork fat (or 1/3 of the quantity of rabbit)
2 cups pork rillette (see above)
1 egg yolk
3 slices rye bread without crusts
1/2 cup of whole milk
2 rabbit livers (kidneys and hearts as well)
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
1 Thai chili, seeds removed
2 tablespoons salt (to taste)
1 cup of dried cranberries
The addition of 2 tablespoons of a liqueur or fortified wine adds depth. I didn’t have anything local, so I opted out.
Cut the rabbit and pork fat into pieces that will fit into your meat grinder. Combine the rabbit, pork, salt, and spice. Mix and refrigerate for 2 hours (or more). Put your meat grinder in the freezer.
Meanwhile, soak the bread in the milk and alcohol. Whisk the eggs until combined.
Remove the grinder from the freezer, and grind the salted-meat mixture as well as the soaked the bread. Add the whisked egg to the ground meat, lightly mix together, and then put the combined force meat through the grinder again.
Lightly poach or saute a spoonful of your force meat and taste for balanced seasoning. Adjust accordingly.
Lightly cover the inside of your terrine mold with canola oil, then press plastic wrap into the mold with plenty extra hanging over to cover the terrine at a later point.
Pour the cranberries into the bottom of the mold, distributing equally. Follow that with a layer of the force meat. If you are just using rabbit loins, place them in the center of the terrine and then fill the rest of the mold up with the remaining force meat. If you have the rillete: flatten the rillete onto plastic wrap, place the rabbit loins in the center and then roll the rillete around the loins, making as tight a cylinder as possible. Lay this tube (without the plastic) in the mold and cover with force meat, making sure some is on the sides as well. Use the excess plastic wrap to cover the force meat.
Cover the terrine with tinfoil, crimping at the edges to make a lid. Fill a pan with hot water and set the mold in the water. Cook the terrine in the oven at 300 for an hour to an hour and a half or until the interior temperature reads 150 degrees.
Uncover the terrine and let sit out for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes create a press that can equally distribute weight onto the terrine (another terrine mold works best). Put the terrine in the fridge with weights on top and let it sit overnight.
I served the terrine with a green tomato vinaigrette and micro greens, but it can be served with anything a little sweet and sour. Pickles, mustard, and jams are all great options along with some crusty bread.