Terrine Jacquy à la Americaine

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: 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: grinding.JPG 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: ground stuff

Because it was so slimy and gross, I had to have a small restorative glass of wine: recovery wine
There was a lot of ground meat — two bowls full:so much meat ... 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: 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.

7 thoughts on “Terrine Jacquy à la Americaine”

  1. What a pity! The little terrines looked so beautiful with their peppercorn garnishes. If the “meatballs” aren’t spreadable, maybe you can chop some of them up, add some more herbs and mix with bread or wild rice to stuff turkey or game birds. Yum.

  2. We’ll have to see — I haven’t totally given up on them yet (wanna be a taste-tester?). Even in their little pots, if you just sort of smush it all around it gets kind of spreadable — it’s just not that nice, soft texture you want for a really great pate/terrine. On the other hand, I’m sure I can use all that yumminess for something — I was also thinking ravioli filling? They still taste pretty good — they’re just not as perfect as I wanted them to be …

  3. Charlotte, why will you have to freeze it even after you’ve put them through a hot water bath?

    Moose pate sounds…interesting. :D I’ve been trying hard to develop a taste for chicken liver pate but still find it a bit muddy-tasting. How does moose liver pate compare?

  4. I noticed that the liver is a light brown colour , that looks odd to me because all the moose livers I have seen and eaten were a dark brown to black colour.
    Most of th pate recipes I have read require that all the ingredients be cooked usually by frying at low temperature like in butter. Then mixed together in a high speed blender and passed through a jelly sieve before being molded or preserved. This type of process might prevent the breaking you experienced.
    You have one of the best “kitchen aids” ever made (not yours in particular) but I refer to the “Kitchen Aid Mixer” and you mixed the liver by hand next time try the dough hook I use it for sausage/hamburger patties and it works just fine.
    If your going to the trouble of canning it doesn’t matter if you use a pressure canner or not , what is important is that the food reaches the boiling temperature of the water. Unless of course if your too high above sea level to reach 212 F. Deg. at boiling. In which case I would heat the food separately and hot pack it into the jars.
    Too bad we can’t taste it over the web.

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