Ever since I bought Pork and Sons last spring, I’ve been wanting to make the Terrine Jacquy — whenever I’ve been in France I’ve been fascinated by the sheer variety of potted terrines — they’re everywhere in a million variations. The last couple of years I’ve been doing food baskets for Christmas presents — trying to share the fruits of my garden and wildcrafted finds like dried morels — so I saw the Terrine Jacquy and thought how cool — those would be great in Christmas baskets –
The original recipe is pretty simple — 5.5 pounds of pork belly, 1.5 pound pork liver, garlic, onions, a couple of eggs, some salt, pepper, piment d’espelette and then a little armangac. I figured I’d make it à la Americaine by substituting moose liver for pork liver, and good bourbon for armangac.
Here’s the moose liver: It was disgusting — not because it was from a moose, but because it was liver. Liver totally freaks me out — the texture is so so so so icky. I hacked the liver into pieces that would fit into the hopper of my meat grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid. Because the recipe seemed a little sketchy, I used the directions for pate in Michael Ruhlman‘s Charcuterie as a guide. I’d cut the pork belly and pork shoulder into cubes (I didn’t have enough pork belly left over after the pancetta, so I supplemented it with shoulder), had spread them on a half-sheet pan, and stuck them in the freezer while I got prepared. I also froze the meat grinder, and ground everything into the metal mixer bowls set in ice baths like Ruhlman advises.
Here’s the meat grinder in action: I also ground the chopped onions, garlic and the thyme (I added thyme to the recipe because I like it) along with the meat and the liver. The liver coming through the grinder was really gross — here’s a picture of how slimy it was:
Because it was so slimy and gross, I had to have a small restorative glass of wine:
There was a lot of ground meat — two bowls full: The next step was to beat three eggs and mix them with the meat. Unfortunately my camera batteries died at this point — but the liver texture so freaked me out that I had to go find a pair of the little latex gloves I used when painting the house last year because it was clear the only way to mix it was going to be by hand and there was no way I was going to be able to touch the ground liver slime. I got my biggest bowl, and mixed everything together and then packed it into the jars. Because it was, well, ground meat, I thought some pink peppercorns might be a pretty garnish. Here’s a photo of the packed jars: This is where things got tricky — the recipe says to put the jars in a big canning kettle, bring to a boil, and cook on a simmer for three hours. So that’s what I did even though I was a little worried that the pates would “break” — that is, that the meat and the fat would separate, leaving a hard little meatball afloat in the fat and collagen from the pork. But they were in jars, so I figured that level of processing was necessary. The bad news is that the terrines did break — they’re not a nice amalgamated spreadable pate, but rather, a bunch of floating meatballs. The original recipe also says you’re supposed to leave them for several weeks to ripen, but when I consulted my books on canning, they all say that meat needs to be done at a hot pack, and cooked under pressure or it’s at risk for botulism. So, until I decide whether to keep my 20 jars of failed terrine or not, they’re stored in the freezer. I opened one for a taste test, and it tastes pretty good if you sort of smush it all around to make it more pate-like and less meatball-like. We’ll see. I might have to try again if we get an antelope and I have another chunk of liver. I think the next time I’ll do them in water baths like regular pates — especially since I’ll have to freeze them anyhow. But despite being freaked out by liver, it was a fun experiment … and any time I get to use my meat grinder I’m a happy girl.