This makes an impressive starter for a supper party, served with home-made quince jelly or spiced pears and a few elegantly-arranged salad leaves, but it’s equally good for lunch with hunks of country bread, cornichons and a big crunchy salad.
It’s important to season it well, even if you’re a paid-up member of the Salt Police, otherwise it will taste insipid once it has cooled.
It’s based on a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Cookbook. Highly recommended (the terrine and the book).
750g lean game meat: choose from pheasant, partridge, duck and pigeon breasts, saddle and hindquarters of rabbit and venison leg or fillet
Oil for frying
Salt and pepper
300g unsmoked streaky bacon to line the dish
For the forcemeat:
500g good quality sausage meat
About 175g chicken livers or livers from the game
2 handfuls fresh white breadcrumbs
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
Leaves picked from a few sprigs of thyme
5-6 juniper berries, crushed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Splash of red wine
Splash of brandy
Plenty of salt and pepper
Make the forcemeat – chop the livers finely and add to a large bowl with the sausage meat.
Combine, then add the breadcrumbs, egg, herbs, juniper berries and garlic. Add a splash each of red wine and brandy, season well with salt and pepper and mix everything together thoroughly.
Cut the game into similar-sized pieces, about one or two fingers thick.
Remove any rind from the bacon and run the back of a heavy knife along each rasher to stretch it out. Use it to line a 1kg loaf tin or terrine, overlapping the rashers slightly and leaving enough hanging over the edge of the dish to fold over the top later.
Arrange a layer of forcemeat in the terrine, followed by a layer of game meat, repeating until you get to the top and ending with a layer of forcemeat. Make sure you season each layer with salt and pepper as you go.
Fold the ends of the bacon rashers over the top and cover well with kitchen foil (or foil and a lid).
Put the terrine in a roasting dish half filled with water and place in an oven preheated to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for about one and a half to two hours. Top up the water if necessary.
To check whether it’s done insert a metal skewer into the centre of the terrine – it should come out piping hot. If not, it’s not ready.
When it’s done, place a piece of wood that fits snugly inside the terrine on top and weight it down well. If you don’t have heavy weights, use a well-wrapped brick or two. Leave it overnight or until completely cold.
To serve, dip the base of the terrine quickly into hot water and invert the dish onto a board or platter. Slice thickly with a very sharp knife.
This will freeze, very well wrapped, for a month or two. Make sure it is fully defrosted before eating.