Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Terrine a French term (dating back to medieval times) used also in English (since the 18th century) to denote either a type of oven-proof dish with a close-fitting lid or what is cooked in it. The word derives originally from the Latin terra, meaning earth and referring therefore to an earthenware dish. By extension a similar dish made of metal may be called a terrine.

The recipient itself is often but not invariably rectangular; it is straight sided and fairly deep. What is cooked in it has evolved in the course of time to its current form, a sort of ‘loaf’, suitable for being sliced, of minced meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables (or even fruits). The terrine is often layered so that when slices are cut from it they present an attractive and multi-coloured appearance. Terrines of the 17th century, though indeed made in a dish as described, were more likely elaborate stews with vegetables and gravy. See also olio and pupton for other dishes that exemplify this style of cookery.