Terrina de Hígado

Spiced Pork Liver Terrine

NOT FAR FROM THE HEART OF MADRID IS CASA PACO. IT’S A BAR. A BAR FULL OF BLOKES DRINKING CHATOS — LITTLE GLASSES OF CHILLED RED WINE. IT’S NOT FANCY, BUT IT IS BEAUTIFUL. THERE’S A CARVED WOODEN BAR, TILED WALLS AND A SMALL SQUARE GLASS CABINET ON ONE CORNER OF THE BAR WHERE THERE IS ALWAYS A TORTILLA, A SMALL STACK OF LOMO (PORK LOIN) AND CHORIZO, A FEW ROUNDS OF MANCHEGO CHEESE AND A GREAT BIG PINK BLOCK OF PORK TERRINE THAT THE WAITER EMILIO CUTS INTO CUBES THAT TAKE A GOOD FEW BITES TO GET THROUGH. THIS IS A RICH AND SWEET TERRINE THAT IS PERFECT FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION.

Ingredients

  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) pork liver, cleaned and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) dice
  • 300 g (10½ oz) pork shoulder, cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) dice (see Note)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground toasted juniper berries
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) brandy
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) amontillado sherry
  • 3 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 250 g (9 oz) piece of pork back fat, cut into 1 cm (½ inch) dice, chilled
  • 50 ml ( fl oz) pouring (whipping) cream
  • 150 g ( oz) finely sliced pork back fat or mild pancetta
  • fresh bread, to serve

Method

Day 1

Place the pork liver, pork shoulder, nutmeg, juniper, brandy, sherry, sea salt and black pepper in a bowl. Mix together well, then cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Meanwhile, drop the chopped onion into a large saucepan of boiling salted water and cook for 3–4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel and allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2

Using a mincer fitted with the coarse grinding plate, mince the chilled back fat into a large bowl. (If you don’t have a mincer, use a sharp knife to finely chop the fat.)

Drain the liver mixture. Change the mincing plate to fine, then mince the marinated liver mixture into the bowl with the back fat. (If you don’t have a mincer, use a food processor to blend the marinated liver into a rough purée, then mix in your minced/ground pork.)

Using scrupulously clean hands, combine well, then mix in the cream and blanched onion. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight if you prefer).

Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3).

Line a 10 × 25 cm (4 × 10 inch) terrine mould with the sliced back fat or pancetta in slightly overlapping layers, leaving the sides overhanging; reserve several slices to cover the terrine. Pour the mixture into the lined mould, then tap it firmly on the bench several times to expel any air bubbles. Lay the remaining back fat or pancetta slices over the terrine mixture, then fold over the overhanging pieces of fat to cover.

Cover the terrine tightly with foil and place in a deep roasting tin. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the terrine. Bake for 90 minutes, then carefully remove from the hot water bath and leave to cool. Remove the foil and loosely cover the terrine with plastic wrap, then place a weight on top and refrigerate overnight.

Day 3

Carefully remove the terrine from the mould. If this proves difficult, loosen the terrine by placing it in a bath of hot water for 30–60 seconds to melt the fat that may be holding it in place.

Cut the terrine into twelve slices 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick, then cut each slice into three ‘batons’. Place two batons on each serving plate. Serve with plenty of fresh bread, and perhaps a few cornichons (baby gherkins) and some home-made spicy conserve.