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Ah, terrines. Specifically, a liver terrine. The French certainly know how to make gorgeous foods out of humble ingredients. Not just good-looking, but incredible-tasting on top of it. In Quebec City, where the cuisine is both familiarly American and elegantly French at the same time, you can easily head into just about any supermarket or charcuterie and pick up a neatly packaged slice of terrine. From rustic country-style terrines with bits of chopped ham, to fancy slabs filled with local foie gras.
My first go at making a terrine from scratch was surprisingly easy and successful. I had bought a huge bag of duck necks from my neighbourhood butchery with the intention of making bone broth, which I did, using my Instant Pot. Roasting and subsequently pressure cooking the necks rendered them soft to the point of crumbling, and the cooked meat still looked too good to discard, so I wondered about the possibility of picking out the meat and utilising it for another dish. The shredded meat was processed in the food processor, spiced and enriched with duck bone broth, then transferred to a bacon-lined loaf pan. After baking in a water bath and weighing down, I unmolded it the next day and my family marvelled at the outcome. What a beauty!
Fast forward to autumn with American Thanksgiving around the corner. There was a chopped up turkey on sale at the neighbourhood supermarket and I bought the turkey frame, with a surprisingly generous quantity of meat still attached to it. The more meat left on the frame, the tastier the bone broth! Once again I made bone broth out of it, with a splash of apple cider vinegar to draw the minerals out of the bones, an onion and a bay leaf for flavour. The resulting bone broth was heady and rich, with a good promise of gelling.
I remembered the duck neck terrine I had made previously, and wanted to give it another go, this time with the addition of chicken livers for added nutrients and smoothness. Picking out the cooked turkey meat yielded 2 good cups. I’m being paranoid, but I still feel somewhat squeamish about putting raw liver into my trusty food processor, so the livers were cooked until just done in a frying pan before being processed with the rest of the ingredients (disclaimer: no livers were ruined in the cooking process).
Now please don’t be like me and start making terrine at night. It’s a very straightforward process to put it together, but terrines need a slow bake in the oven followed by a good cooling down before being refrigerated. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving and have loads of leftover turkey, that will speed up your terrine-making process. Have you ever been inspired in the evening and ended up baking past midnight? -> #storyofmylife #learnfrommymistakes
I hope that you will be inspired to give terrine-making a go. It’s a great way to enjoy liver, especially if you’re not a fan of the taste as the sweetness of the dried apricots marry perfectly with the creaminess of the livers, and the turkey provides just enough body to prevent it from tasting ‘livery’. Feel free to play around with the ratio of turkey: liver. Terrines are far more forgiving than AIP dessert baking. A standard loaf pan is perfect for making terrines, although special terrine pans are a lovely option (like these swoonworthy Le Creuset cast-iron terrines). My husband the liver
hater detector willingly and happily eats this terrine. That, to me, is a good dish!
Where to get certain ingredients online:
- 1 lb/ 454 g chicken livers, rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes, then pat dry with kitchen paper towels
- 10 g/ 0.4 oz or ⅓ cup dried sliced mushrooms, soaked in ⅓ cup hot water until softened
- 1 whole leek, sliced thinly
- 15 slices/ 1 pack low sodium bacon (chop 3 slices, reserve the rest for lining the terrine)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp ground clove
- 1 pinch mace
- 1.5 tsp salt (reduce if turkey meat is heavily seasoned)
- 300 g/10.6 oz or 2 packed cups cooked and shredded turkey meat
- 12 - 16 unsulfured dried apricots, chopped
- ½ cup warm bone broth mixed with 3 g or ½ tbsp gelatin
- ¼ cup bone broth
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/ 165°C.
- Trim the chicken livers of gristle and ducts, sprinkle lightly with salt, then set aside
- Squeeze mushrooms dry and chop finely, then set aside. Reserve soaking water.
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat and saute sliced leek, chopped bacon and chopped mushrooms for 5 minutes, then add crushed garlic and saute for another minute or until garlic is fragrant.
- Stir in the mushroom soaking water, reduce the heat slightly and cook until liquid has evaporated, around 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Increase the heat to medium and cook the chicken livers in a single layer for 2 minutes per side, in 2 separate batches if necessary, then remove and set aside. (It's okay if it doesn't sear)
- Transfer the leek, mushroom and bacon mixture to the food processor, and add in the cooked chicken livers.
- Add in the dried thyme, ground clove, mace, salt, shredded turkey meat, and half of the chopped dried apricots.
- Pour in the bone broth with gelatin mixture and blend, adding in the additional ¼ cup bone broth bit by bit as needed until relatively smooth. Pulse in the remaining apricots.
- Line a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan crosswise with 9 strips of bacon (overlapping slightly), ensuring that the bacon strips hang over both lengths of the pan, then scoop the blended mixture in and smooth with a spatula.
- Place the remaining 3 strips of bacon lengthwise over the top and fold over the overlapping bacon.
- Cover with foil and place in a larger baking pan.
- Fill the baking pan with enough hot water to come up to the midway level of the loaf pan.
- Bake for 2 hours.
- Remove from the oven and hot water bath, allow it to cool until safe to touch
- Remove the foil and replace with a fresh sheet of foil, pressing to fit against the surface of the terrine
- Weigh the terrine down with a weight (I used glass bottles of oil stacked on top, followed by a heavy book) for at least an hour
- Transfer to the fridge (weights optional, use something heavy that can be refrigerated!) to chill overnight or for 24 hours.
- Unmold by running some hot water over the sides of the loaf pan before inverting onto a serving platter.
Serving suggestions: A slice on salad, spread on jicama, watermelon radishes, melons, cucumbers, apples...