Summer is the time for terrines!
I enjoy making and eating terrines. They always remind me of delicious “charcuterie moments” in France. They are easy to make and give me an opportunity to experiment with flavours. For an al fresco evening they elevate a snack platter.
Terrines are ideal for using left over meats such as turkey, gammon or any roast meat. They are sometimes made from raw meats or from pre-cooked meats. The famous Ham and Parsley Terrine being a good example of using cooked meat.
I usually make two or three so that I have ‘back-up’ in the freezer for a spontaneous summer lunch or evening.
Use any loaf shaped container, but if you have an oval, it is also acceptable. Loaves are just easier to slice!
When you are serving a light fish or poultry main course, a meat-based terrine is a good choice for a first course.
We love goat meat and wish that it was easier to find in local butcheries. These days there are a number of goat’s milk producers. Male goats obviously do not have much purpose and are destined for meat production. Occasionally we are able to order half a goat.
The flavour of goat meat is somewhere between mild venison and lamb. The muscle is much leaner than lamb and the fat is only visible under the skin and a few thin layers on the belly. You need to buy good quality, young goat or kid to ensure tenderness. Older animals will have a more gamey flavour. As with lamb and venison there is a slight sweetness so seasoning is important, but you need to be careful not to overpower the delicate flavours.
One of the memorable goat dishes I have enjoyed was in Morocco. The Tagine of Goat with Apricot and Almonds was delicious.
A tagine is a Moroccan stew, usually made in a dish with the traditional conical lid that traps the steam and circulates the moisture. It is the traditional flavours of Morocco that work for me: cumin, ground coriander and the sweet-sour contrast of the apricots with the sweetness of the meat. On another occasion we had a similar goat dish made with prunes.
The Moroccan memories motivated me to translate these flavours into a terrine.
I had a forequarter of goat in the freezer. This included the tougher cuts: shoulder (not very meaty in a young goat or kid), upper ribcage, neck and shanks. I chopped it into chunks and placed it all in the pressure cooker with stock and red wine. (In the detailed recipe, I give the alternative for oven roasting). It is advisable to do this a day ahead. I separated the warm, succulent meat from the bones and strained the cooking liquid into a saucepan, which I refrigerated overnight. This allows the fat to solidify on the surface, making it easy to remove and discard. (A few years ago I failed to discard a bowl of goat fat, to find that my red Burmese boy, Muscat had consumed about 200ml during the night. Needless to say I had a rather queasy looking cat for 24 hours!).
Cooked lamb, any venison or left over pulled pork would be perfect substitutes for goat.
Line the terrine mould with bacon, it not only looks attractive but holds the slices together.
The ‘gel’ in the terrine is usually from the collagen that is formed when meat fibres are exposed to prolonged moist heat. Usually I find that the natural collagen in the cooking juices works perfectly. You need a soft gel to hold the meat chunks together, not a firm, rubbery gel! Some recipes, where you do not use ‘stewed meat’ or the dish is assembled and not baked, but set in the fridge e.g. vegetable based terrines, they will call for the addition of gelatine, others that are cooked may have an egg based mixture.