Lamb’s brain terrine February 9, 2011Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Charcutepalooza, Innards.
Tags: Dinner, Snacks
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.
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!