Once the big Christmas roast has been consumed, the chef can relax and enjoy make-ahead delights such as a rich game terrine, says Rose Prince. Serves 6-8
Having spent many years in the Christmas kitchen, I like to have to hand what I call festive picnic foods. As far as I’m concerned once the big roast has gone on to the table, it will be the last foray into cooking. After that, we hunter-gather in fridge and larder, eating whatever we find.
I like to make a rich and smooth chicken liver mousse, topped with melted, cooled butter, to eat with brioche toast. I make it a few days in advance, along with a game terrine. When they see it sliced and ready to eat, your guests will gasp in admiration but once you have mastered the building process, it is easy to do. Think of terrines as a larder investment — once cooked and cooled, they are the greatest reward.
Christmas recipe for game terrine with pork, prunes and pistachio nuts
- Pork mince mixture:
1 garlic clove
1 large shallot
300g pork shoulder mince
1 tbsp port
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 egg, beaten
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- To build the terrine:
1 tbsp butter
12 very thin slices of smoked pancetta
300g lean mixed game: duck, pheasant, partridge, hare, rabbit and venision, off the bone and cut into 1cm wide strips along the grain of the meat
8 pitted prunes, each cut into 3
50g shelled unsalted pistachios
- For the carrot pickle:
300g roughly grated carrot
3cm piece of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp flaked almonds
200ml cider vinegar
150g granulated sugar
1. Butter the inside of a 1-litre terrine dish/loaf tin (20cm x 10cm x 10cm). Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Line the terrine dish with the pancetta strips, laying them side by side across its width.
3. To prepare the pork mince mixture, melt the butter in a small pan and add the garlic and shallot. Fry over a low heat until soft. Allow to cool a little then add to the pork mince with the port, thyme, egg and seasoning.
4. To ‘build’ the terrine, spoon a third of the pork mince mixture into the base of the terrine dish and spread evenly. Lay a line of the prune pieces and the pistachio nuts lengthways along the surface of the mince.
5. Lay strips of half of the game meat lengthways on top. Add another third of the pork mince mixture, then another line of prunes and nuts.
6. Add a second layer of the game meat, as before, then the final third of the pork mince. Spread it out evenly. If the pancetta slices hang over the side the dish, wrap them over the terrine.
7. Place the terrine dish in a roasting pan. Carefully pour some boiling water into the pan, so the dish is sitting in about 2cm depth.
8. Bake the terrine for 1½ hours — it will puff up a little and turn brown on the surface. Remove it from the oven, place a sheet of aluminium foil on the surface and weigh it down — I use tins of vegetables to do this.
9. Allow the terrine to cool naturally then place it in the fridge. Chill overnight — this is a dish that always tastes better the following day. To serve the terrine, carefully turn it out of the dish on to a board.
10. When you cut it into 1cm slices, you will then be able to see the beautiful ‘mosaic’ effect of the meat, fruit and nut layers. Serve with the fresh carrot pickle (method below) and hot toast.
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Fresh carrot pickle
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the liquid becomes syrupy and the carrot and other ingredients are cooked down. You may need to add a little more water. This pickle stores well in a jar until needed.