Terrine de Campagne

A Hearty Country Pâté

A good terrine contains many textures and flavors. This one alternates three contrasting layers: the first consists of marinated strips of veal, chicken, and ham; the second, chopped sautéed chicken liver; and the third, ground pork mixed with egg and seasonings. Terrines can, of course, be very rich and grand and their ingredients can include marrow, butter, cream, cognac, truffles, pistachios, and goose or duck liver. This recipe is for a simple peasant terrine, lean and spicy, delicious served with sour gherkins, a tart green salad (dandelion, arugula, romaine, or watercress), and wine. It is excellent as the first course for a hearty winter meal or as the main course for a summer picnic or buffet.

The recipe is designed for a 1½-quart terrine with a lid, but you can substitute a loaf pan.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound veal, cut roughly into 4-inch strips
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, boned and diced
  • 3 slices ham
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 6 peppercorns, crushed with a mallet
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound chicken livers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound ground pork or ham
  • ½ pound salt pork, finely minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons port or sherry
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound salt pork, cut in strips, or caul
  • 2 4-inch slices bacon or salt pork
  • 4 bay leaves
  • sprigs of parsley or watercress

Method

Mix and marinate overnight the first eleven ingredients.

Sauté the chicken livers in olive oil until firm. Chop and set aside. In a bowl, mix the pork or ham, salt pork, eggs, port or sherry, thyme, and salt. Line a terrine or loaf pan with three-quarters of the salt pork strips or caul. Preheat the oven to 350°.

Assemble the pâté in the following order, packing down each layer: half of the pork or ham mixture, the marinated sliced ham, all the chicken livers, half of the liquid from the marinade, the marinated veal strips, and the remaining pork or ham mixture. Put bay leaves on top and pour the rest of the marinade over the pâté. Seal completely with the remaining salt pork strips. Seal with aluminum foil and place the terrine in a pan of hot water 1½ inches deep. Bake for 2 hours.

Remove from the oven and set 2 to 5 pounds of weights (stones, irons, tiles, etc.) on top of the foil-covered pâté.* (Cover the entire surface with weights. This squeezes out the excess fat and juice so that the pàté will slice well and have the proper consistency.) Refrigerate at least 5 hours.

Remove the weights and gently lift out the pâté with two spatulas and place on a platter. Trim the fat—you may remove it all, if you wish—and cut a few slices of terrine with a big, sharp knife with the help of a chopping board (see technique for using this on). Cut 3 or 4 little clover shapes out of a slice of bacon or salt pork with kitchen shears and arrange them in a pattern, along with the bay leaves, on the uncut part of the pâté. Surround the pâté with parsley or watercress.

This is delicious with a full-bodied red wine, a chilled dry white wine, or a cool dry rosé.

* If you make pâtés often, it is well worth cutting a piece of plywood or card-board to fit the dimensions of the terrine and wrapping it in aluminum foil. Weights can be put on top of it to press down evenly.