This game terrine (a coarse pate) is made from Venison, Rabbit and Pheasant, which is a really good introduction to these specialist ‘game’ meats for anyone who has never tried them. Served with thin sliced brown-bread toast, and a fruity chutney, this home-made game pate is a great appetizer to serve guests in any season, but particularly so around the Winter feast days of Christmas and the New Year.
Presentation Of The Terrine: this is optional, but you can purchase the small heart, liver and kidneys from the rabbit and pheasant at the same time as the meat from your butcher, if you mix them in whole (into the minced game meat) before potting in the terrine dish they create an interesting cross-section when the terrine is turned out and sliced to serve.
Talking to your butcher: if you have a good local butcher it is always best to ask for and order your meat in advance; this gives fair warning for your butcher to get the best supplies of the specialist meat they can – you can also ask them to bone and coarsely mince all the game meat for you, ready for when you come to collect them, which save a lot of time in this recipe.
A Game Terrine Of Venison, Rabbit & Pheasant
This terrine will improve with age, make it up at least two or three days in advance. The mincemeat will need at least an overnight period in the fridge to let the flavours infuse.
- 200g venison leg, minced
- 1 rabbit, all meat minced
- 1 pheasant, all meat minced
- 400g pork belly, minced
- 200ml of duck fat (buy in tins or rendered from a roast)
- leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4tsp ground mace
- 1/4tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground sea salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 bay leaves
- 20 very thin slices of cured ham (pancetta etc.)
- the hearts and livers from the pheasant and rabbit
- the kidney’s from the rabbit
Mincing The Meat
There are two ways of doing this, you can either buy the game meat whole, and coarsely mince the meat up with a sharp knife, or give your butcher advanced notice and order the meat already coarsely minced from him. It does not matter if the butcher mixes all the meat up when he minces it.
In a saucepan gently melt the duck fat over a low heat. Once melted remove it from the heat. When a little cooler add in the crushed juniper berries, chopped thyme, garlic, ground mace, nutmeg, sea salt and black pepper. Stir and allow to cool almost completely.
In a large mixing bowl add the minced meat. Mix it together thoroughly so that no one type of minced meat clumps together. Stir into the mincemeat the cooled duck fat which now contains the herbs and spices and coat all the mincemeat with it.
Cover over the mixing bowl with some cling-film and place the mincemeat in the fridge overnight to infuse.
The Next Day – Creating The Game Terrine
Optional – fry the whole hearts, livers and kidneys:
Wash and trim the hearts, livers and kidneys – leave them whole. In hot frying pan add some butter and some brown sugar (2 tbsp each) and fry the whole hearts, livers and kidneys for a few minutes only. Allow to go cold. Then when cold mix them into the mincemeat from the fridge.
Take a terrine mould and line it with foil, fold the foil over for double strength before lining. Make sure the foil overhangs the sides to make it easy to pull the terrine out from the mould in one piece when cold.
Next lay down in the mould, over the foil, the thin slices of cured ham (pancetta etc.). Make sure the ham lays flat inside the terrine, and the whole bottom of the mould is covered, also make sure the ham comes up the sides and overhangs quite a way down the outside of the terrine mould (the over-hang will be folded over the top after the mincemeat has been added in).
Preheat the oven to 170C
Press the mincemeat from the bowl in the fridge tightly and firmly into the mould, lined with foil and then the ham, to ensure a smooth shape. Make sure there are no gaps or air-pockets – tamp the mincemeat mixture down with the spoon.
Add a couple of bay leaves on the top when the terrine is full and the mincemeat has been firmly pressed down. Cover over the top with the overhang of the ham to enclose the mincemeat. Finally cover the top of the mould in a double thickness of foil.
Put the terrine into an oven roasting tray and fill the bottom of the tray with boiling water so that it comes a few inches up the sides of the terrine mould. Bake in the oven at 170C for 2 hours (120 minutes).
After two hours test the terrine is properly cooked, insert a metal skewer in the middle to see if it comes out hot. If it is cooked remove the mould from the hot water bath and leave somewhere to cool for an hour.
After an hour place a heavy object on top of the terrine, still protected by the foil. An old house brick, covered in foil and then cling-film, is normally perfect for the job. The weight should press it down. The terrine can be left for a few hours (or even better overnight) in the fridge to chill and compress.
When you want to serve remove the terrine from the mould by pulling it out with the foil overhang. Turn it out onto a plate, remove all the foil and cut into thick slices (2 cm thick). Drizzle over a little olive oil and a little grated sea salt and black pepper. It is delicious served with hot toast and chutney.