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Terrine – and a platter for Nero Wolfe March 13, 2010

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Pork, Vegetables.

It was all very well making bread and cheese – but I felt there was something missing. That something, I decided, was terrine. It was nice to have bread and cheese, but someone with the culinary experience of Nero Wolfe might find it a bit bland. As I had never made terrine before, I thought it was about time I gave it a shot. Because this was a rather spur of the moment thing, I didn’t have any ham hocks or other elements on hand to create a nice gelatin-filled terrine. The terrine I made, therefore, was rather a cheats’ terrine, made by roughly following the recipe here, although I did deviate a fair bit. I hope to try it again making it the ‘proper’ way.

I started by lining a tin with bacon. You might think I used too much bacon but in my opinion there’s not any such thing:

To prepare the terrine filling, I started by cooking some spinach leaves and chopping them finely. I then mixed in pork mince, onion, chopped bacon, salt and pepper, parsley, thyme, and pine nuts. The recipe called for some brandy or cognac but as I didn’t have any, I just left it out. I also added an egg, to help bind it all together.

The next step was to put the mixture into the bacon-lined terrine. I wouldn’t normally show a photo of this but I did note that while I had used less meat than the recipe called for (500g rather than 850g), the tin was still mostly filled up.

I then folded the ends of the bacon over the top, wrapped it in foil, and placed the whole tin in a larger baking tin filled about halfway with water. I then baked the terrine for 1 hour at 160°C, and then reduced it to 140°C and baked it for a further 20 minutes. Here’s what it looked like when it came out of the oven:

After it had cooled to room temperature, I wrapped it in foil again (still in the tin), put some cans on the top of it to compress it and put it in the fridge overnight.

The next day, I turned the terrine out onto a plate, and it came out effortlessly. I decided that the time had come to make a tasting platter up for Nero Wolfe (and for us too!) and here is the result:

On this platter we had: the terrine, homemade bread, homemade goats’ milk cheese, homemade mozzarella, Sicilian olives (sadly not homemade, from the deli instead), and some salad.

The terrine itself was delicious – more flavoursome than I was expecting and the texture was smooth. I had described this terrine jokingly as “glorified meatloaf” and in a way it was, but the flavours worked well together and overall it appeared much more terrine-like than I was expecting. The pine nuts added a nice textural difference and the edge of bacon gave it a salty tang. Paired with the crusty bread, the cheese and the olives, this was a perfect afternoon tasting platter.

Of course, for Nero Wolfe, this would be but the first course in a series of dishes. While for Wolfe it might be only one element in a series of dishes, it was nice for me to see all the different recipes coming together to form the overall platter. Cooking through the cheeses and bread, and then the terrine, taught me a lot about the individual foods I was creating, but I think it was most satisfying seeing it all on the one plate in the end.



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