Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We live & learn - Terrine making

As explained in my last post I was concerned to make a good impression food wise on our French friends. Thus I thought that a pork terrine with cornichons & shallots would properly impress. Only problem was that I haven't made a terrine in years; pate yes, but terrine no. I was, however, using a recipe from 'The Cook's Book' so I should have been OK.

Things went well at first. I soaked my pork hocks for 24 hours.

They came out looking fine.

Then they went into the stock pot for about 3 hours at a slow simmer.

So far so good. After the hocks cooled I shredded the meat and added chopped cornichons and shallots. I also dissolved some gelatin leaves into about a pint of the stock.

The mix looked & tasted good. At this point things looked OK.

The recipe calls
for lining the terrine pan with multiple layers of cling film. I did this with no problem, but there didn't seem to be neatly as much overlap as the recipe indicated.

As I started to fill the
terrine it became obvious that my terrine was far too large for the amount of mixture. The mixture should have filled the terrine to over flowing. It actually came about two thirds of the way to the top. Well I didn't have a smaller terrine so I continued on.
First I filled the terrine with the gelled stock then I cut and put a piece of cardboard on top & pushed it down - hard. Then I wrapped the whole thing in more cling film.

This wasn't going to do what it was supposed to; namely to put pressure on the mixture to 'glue' it together. So off came the cling film & on went as much weight as I could find.

36 hours later the terrine came out of the fridge. As you can see it didn't look too bad, but there was no way the terrine could be cut into nice neat thin slices. It just sort of fell apart.

The solution was to place pieces of the terrine onto endive, add a few pieces of the cut up aspic and some mustard cream sauce with a bit of parsley for decoration.

It didn't look too bad, the French loved it and it tasted good.

There were, however, lessons to be learned from what could have ended up as a fiasco.

  1. Make sure you have the right size terrine!
  2. Shred your port hocks much more finely.
  3. Chop you cornichons & shallots more finely.
  4. In fact I think it would be best to pulse the whole mixture in a food processor. Not to a paste, but to a much finer mix than I had.
I'll try again.

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