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Lamb’s brain terrine February 9, 2011

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Charcutepalooza, Innards.
Tags: ,

Charcutepalooza update: After seeing so many people successfully cure their duck prosciutto in bar or wine fridges (or even normal fridges!), I was determined to find a fridge in which to hang my duck. Luckily I have understanding colleagues and I have taken over an unused bar fridge in our Archives with the agreement that I supply samples of what I make to my colleagues (and not just the one who is letting me use the fridge – I think everyone wants some now!). I’ve got my duck currently hanging in there with some pancetta currently curing before it too will be hung.

So, bacon. The challenge for February was to make some bacon (or pancetta). I’ve made bacon several times since I first attempted it last year and cannot see myself returning to store-bought bacon again. For the Charcutepalooza challenge, I used some Black Pig belly, and cured it with brown sugar, salt, pink salt and juniper berries. I used more sugar than I have previously, and left it to cure for 7 days.

When it was done, I cooked it in the oven and then sliced it as thin as I could – I had plans for this bacon!

I must admit to sneaking a couple of slices once it was cooked – it was delicious, with a great balance of sweet and salty. The brown sugar provided some caramel flavours which worked really well with the juniper berries. Definitely a combination I will try again.

Let me say to start with it was not an idle threat that more lambs’ brains would be consumed! This time, I decided to follow Fergus Henderson’s advice and make a terrine that included lambs’ brains.

To start with, I mixed garlic, shallots, pork, veal, pork fat and a chicken liver in the food processor (the recipe called for duck liver but I had chicken livers on hand so used them instead). Henderson warns about pulsing the mixture too finely and I tried my best to leave some texture in it.

I poached the brains as I did previously, and while I was waiting for them to cook I lined a tin with my bacon.

I added half of the meat mixture in the bottom and flattened it as best as I could, and then added the brains in one layer.

I admit I was a bit worried at that point. My bacon wasn’t that big, and I was concerned I’d have too much meat and the bacon wouldn’t be long enough to wrap around the top! I added the rest of the meat mixture and pressed the bacon in as best I could. While the bacon wrapped around the edges, it didn’t cover the top, so I added the last remaining pieces of my bacon to form a lid.

To prepare the terrine, I covered the tin in aluminium foil and placed the whole tin in a larger baking pan. I filled the pan about half with water, and placed the whole lot in the oven for two hours. After this time, I waited for it to cool, added some weights to the top, and put it in the fridge for two days.

Those two days were not fun! The terrine smelled fabulous, and I got a whiff of it each time I opened the fridge! At the end of the second day, I eagerly upended the tin and removed the terrine.

Delicious bacon-y goodness! And the inside looked even nicer:

Brainy terrine! The taste was wonderful. The meat mixture was very tasty, a nice combination of fat and meat and contrasted dramatically with the line of brains in the middle. The taste of the brains still came through slightly and provided a great creamy texture to the terrine. And the whole thing was wrapped in bacon!

The only thing I would change is to ensure I left more texture in the meat mixture – maybe even by leaving some meat out of the food processor and chopping it finely by hand. While the flavour was fantastic, the texture was more homogenous than I think Henderson was intending.

I served the terrine with slices of homemade rye sourdough (made with Fitzwilliam, of course!) and homemade pickled octopus.

I’ve already got more bacon curing in the fridge as I used most of the original bacon up to make the terrine! Bacon is definitely something I require to always be in the house, ready for consuming at any time!


1. Nic - February 9, 2011

Great idea. I’ve never tried lambs brains, but I love a good terrine, this recipe might persuade me to try them one day!

2. Tweets that mention Lamb’s brain terrine « Inspired by Wolfe -- Topsy.com - February 9, 2011

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hayden Peters, Inspiredbywolfe. Inspiredbywolfe said: Lamb's brain terrine, or what I did with my bacon – my #charcutepalooza post for February: http://wp.me/pKqwn-ay […]

3. mosaica - February 9, 2011

Absolutely stunning. Instant mad love 🙂 And I have access to lamb’s brains! Though I need to learn how to extract them in a neater fashion. Thanks for the lovely post!

4. The Yummy Mummy - February 10, 2011

OMG. This is gorgeous. Just beautiful, and daring. This is exactly what Charcutepalooza is all about. You are an inspiration!

5. foongfest - February 10, 2011

Wow. This is a fantastic idea! Many props.

6. inspiredbywolfe - February 10, 2011

Thanks all for your comments 🙂 This was a lot of fun to do and the terrine was super easy to make. The hardest part was waiting for 2 days when it was in the fridge – I wanted to dive in straight away!

7. Peter - February 17, 2011

Brilliant. I feel smarter just looking at it.

8. The Daily Palette - February 18, 2011

Wow, I WAS methodically reading Charcutepalooza blogs alphabetically but I saw your comment to @ifmo (Iliana)and I just had to check out what you did!

I’m suffering from bacon envy, LOL. Beautiful terrine!

Thank you for sharing!

9. Julia - March 3, 2011

That little pickled octopus just pushes this over the edge into sheer brilliance. Love it!

inspiredbywolfe - March 4, 2011

Thanks 🙂 While I did put the octopus there mainly for visual effect, it actually worked really well with the terrine as it was vinegary and a bit spicy, so it contrasted well.

10. In Which we Admit it: We’re Charcuterie Sissies | Welcome to Auburn Meadow Farm - March 16, 2011

[…] want to be a Nose-to-Tail Badass, I really do.  I see all you Charcutepaloozans with your lamb brains and pig’s heads and am simultaneously awash with equal measures of squeamishness and […]

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