Terrine de Lièvre au Madère

Hare Terrine with Madeira

One spring I decided to retrace, as far as possible, the route that Robert Louis Stevenson took in his Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes in 1878. In a remote hamlet I was asked, ‘Êtes-vous un Stevenson?’ – I gather that most summers parties of walkers retrace his steps. In Monastier there is even Le Bar Stevenson. During the journey I stayed at an inn at La Pradelles, a slightly tumbledown (I prefer rural France not too tidied-up) but friendly place where my room gave a spectacular view across the Gevaudan, snowy white in places with wild narcissus. Le patron served me a meal full of local specialities including a hare terrine with madeira from the charcuterie in the main square.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg( lb) hare (Sainsbury’s and Waitrose conveniently sell hare in portions)
  • 450 g(1 lb) belly pork
  • 450 g(1 lb) smoked streaky bacon, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • a strip of orange peel
  • 2 wineglasses red wine
  • 1 wineglass madeiraverdelho or medium dry
  • 1–2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon milled pepper
  • ¼–½ teaspoon ground mace
  • ¼ teaspoon finely powdered dried thyme

Method

If not cut in portions, cut the hare to fit a lidded casserole. Add the belly pork, cut into cubes, and half the bacon, cut in strips. Mix the onion and garlic in with the meat; place the bay leaves, thyme and strip of orange peel on top and pour in the red wine. Cover and cook in a slow oven (Mark 3, 160°C, 325°F) for 45–60 minutes – the hare meat should come easily from the bone and most of the pork fat will have melted.

Discard all the herbs and orange peel and mince or chop in a processor (but not too finely) the boned meat and seasonings; strain the cooking liquor into a pan and, if necessary, reduce to 150 ml(¼ pint).

Mix the meat in a large bowl with the madeira, salt, pepper, ground mace, and ground thyme. If possible, cover and chill overnight.

Next day line a 1 litre(2 pint) terrine with the remainder of the bacon, reserving 2 or 3 slices for the top of the terrine. Spoon in the hare mixture and smooth level. Place the remaining bacon on top and pour over the reduced cooking liquid. Cover with a double layer of greaseproof paper and the lid.

Cook in a bain-marie in a slow oven (Mark 3, 160°C, 325°F) for 1–1¼ hours. Remove from the oven and replace the lid with a piece of wood (I keep a piece cut to fit the terrine specially for this – it’s as well to write TERRINE on it in felt-tip pen otherwise I find somebody takes it to light the fire) wrapped in foil on top. Stand some scale weights on top and leave the terrine to cool in the bain-marie. When cool, chill; then briefly dip the terrine in very hot water to turn it out. This terrine will cut into 18–20 slices.

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