Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rabbit Terrine


Old school charcuterie is fun but very meticulous. 
There seems like theres a hundred steps to each recipe and if you skip one your likely screwed. 
i have several books that when you open them, they smell like grandma's linen closet. They usually contain two or three french chefs on the cover with very tall chef hats, thick rimmed glasses (also from grandma's closet) and decorated with what looks to be war medals, or perhaps just culinary achievements. These books are so intense and intimidating it would scare off most cooks.  It took me months before even attempting a recipe. Finally, last week i picked one and went for it. 
First off, i must warn people that for some odd reason, the recipes in these books dont really have proper seasonings. Theres no salt called for in there recipe's, and very little other spice mixtures. I just dont get it. There terrines look like Picasso paintings yet they taste like crap. I know this because the first time i attempted one, i followed the recipe exactly and even though the whole time in the back of my head i was thinking it was going to taste bland i thought somehow these french dudes who seriously know charcuterie knew something i didn't. Well the end product looked great but had no flavour. 
So now, not only am i forced to go through a labour intensive recipe again, but now i must attempt my own seasoning ratios which could go either too little or too much. Frustrating, but like curing meats, its trial and error.  Eventually i will get it and own it. 
So here we go. 
First step, take frozen back fat and slice thinly on a slicer and lay evenly on parchment paper. This step is to create barding fat. Extremely annoying to get nice sheets, yet the guys in the books have pieces that look like big sheets of homemade pasta. How? i have no clue. Freeze the sheets of fat. 
Take two whole rabbits and debone all the meat, keeping the loins intact and seperate. 
You should end up with 1.5 kg rabbit meat and four loins. Small dice the rabbit meat and set aside. keep the livers and discard the kidneys.
Now you need 2.5 kg pork jowl and belly, soft fat were going for here. Back fat wont work. If you must use back fat, blanch it for a minute to soften it. your going for about 1/3 jowl and 2/3 belly. Small dice this as well. Marinate overnight the meats combined with white wine and aromatic veg. 
Take the trumpet mushrooms, clean them, and saute them off, reserving any left over cooking juices. 
Make a stock out of the rabbit bones, brown them, deglaze with white wine, top up with pork stock, add reserved mushroom juice, and reduce to 1/3. strain and reserve. 
Next take your chicken or duck livers and brown quickly in a cast iron on both sides keeping them rare in the middle. deglaze with Madeira  and chill. This is called your "Gratin"
The next day grind the marinated meat through a fine die, add all your seasoning and set aside. 
Chill your food processor before you need it. 
Blend up all the livers (chicken cooked, rabbit raw) and then add your ground meat. Puree as fine or rough as you like but dont over heat your farce. I dont go completely smooth because im using a suzy homemaker food processor and i have to do everything in batches. add some reduced stock and eggs when your close to the consistency you want and incorporate. 
Now take out the farce, and fold in the mushrooms. Set this all aside. 

Take out the barding fat sheets and put a layer of farce on them. Then your going to place the loins skinny ends together in the middle and roll the fat and farce over to form a cylinder. What were going for here is a roulade of loin, followed by a layer of farce, with the whole thing wrapped in a thin layer of fat. 
Were almost done now and i'm getting exhausted just trying to write this. 
Roll this up in seran wrap and freeze. 
Once frozen or atleast crispy, take your terrine molds and fill 1/3 way up with farce. drop your roulade(which should be the length of your terrine) into the mold and then cover up with remaining farce. Cover the whole terrine with caul fat and chill.

I'm not even talking here but i feel like im out of breath just writing this recipe. 

Now the cooking process. You need to cook these in a water bath lid off. 
Start at 400 degrees till you brown the tops nicely. About 20 minutes. 
Then turn down to 200-250 degrees and cook till the center reads 165. 
Take it out, let it rest a while, then pour out any excess fat. 
Take any remaining rabbit stock and pour over terrine and allow it to suck up all those juices. 
Press overnight weighted. 
Next slice, serve on your charcuterie plate at the black hoof , run out two days later, then do it all over again. Greeeat...

Rabbit Terrine with Black Trumpet Mushrooms 
2 rabbit's with liver (1.5 kg of meat)
2.5 kg Pork belly and Jowl
3 eggs
450 g Trumpet mushrooms
500 g chicken/duck livers
aromatic veg
pork stock
dry white wine

Seasonings 
18g cure #1
2 g dextrose
10 g white pepper, ground
25g kosher salt
8 g pate spice

2 comments:

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Ha! I had the exact same feeling about Cottenceau's "Professional Charcuterie," as I am guessing this is the one you were looking at. And I too love the idea of terrines, but for all that work -- and it is every bit as dreadful as you write -- the end product is, well, nice. Not transcendent, but nice. And I don't work my ass off all day for "nice."

grant said...

yup, thats the one.
a great book, and i love learning the technique , but way overdone for the modern day.