August 11, 2014

Old School Terrines

I have been exceptionally fortunate to be taken under the wing of André and Jacqueline here in Burgundy. André invited me to speak to the Rotary Club about my work here, they took me out for tête de veau et grenouilles, André and I went snail hunting together, and they both guided me through the massacre and preparation of the gastropods. The other day, I got a call at 10:00am from André saying they were making terrines from the wild boar and roe deer he had hunted in the fall. Would I like to come watch and learn?

The barded terrine

I arrived at 3:00pm and André microwaved me some coffee. After whisking away my empty cup, he offered me a digestif, which I politely declined (though the bottle of cognac on the counter had a certain allure).

André informed me that Jacqueline was the chef, that I was a guest in the kitchen. I realized I would not be getting my hands dirty, which seemed ok to me.

They took two big terrines of boar out of the fridge that they had prepped earlier. 

André took to cutting decorative shapes of pig fat to place on top while Jacuqeline stuffed hazelnuts into the impressive mass of ground meat, herbs, spices, and, of course, wine. (It made a noisy suction sound.) She placed a bay leaf on top and layered some caul (a white fatty, net-like membrane that holds a pig’s guts together) over it all. Boar terrine done.

Marinating deer
Next, a giant bowl of marinated deer meat came out. There were onions, shallots, parsley, bay leaves, and juniper berries mingling with hunks of meat, all of it thoroughly doused in red wine.
The choice bits
As André cut up pieces of pig meat (“that’s too lean, André! The deer is already lean, it needs lots of fat so it stays moist!”), Jacqueline got out the grinder. The machine made an incredible racket, and the two of them alternated dropping meat, pig fat, parsley, and shallots into the grinder (not the onions!). Once all the meat was in a bowl that my one year old could use as a bathtub, Jacqueline added an egg, salt, pepper, and other seasonings and began mixing it with her hands while André regaled me with stories of the hunt. (It was clear that this was her show. He talked about it being “beaucoup de travail,” but his hands stayed remarkably clean.)

Pork fat=flavor and moisture

Once fully mixed, she piled it into a terrine dish lined with pork fat, stopping about halfway up the sides to layer hazelnuts and choice reserved pieces of the deer, an aesthetic and gastronomic choice, before topping it off with more of the ground mixture.

Choice bits on top of ground meat
Another bay leaf and a layer of caul and she pronounced it ready for the oven, where it would cook for a couple of hours in low heat before chilling in the refrigerator for ten days, when they would share it with their family and friends on the occasion of their golden 50th wedding anniversary. 

I am hoping I might get some leftovers.
Covered in caul
The finished product, pre-cooking, amidst the raw materials needed for success

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