Two years ago, I spent the month of June participating in a charcuterie class at the culinary school of the Saint Paul College. It was a fascinating experience and I learned a tremendous amount of information. It also have me a greater appreciation for the skill that it requires to produce and excellent charcuterie. Here’s my take on a rabbit terrine that I learned in the class.
Rabbit Terrine (French country-style pork and rabbit terrine)
Serves 8 – 12
2 ½ pounds Pork shoulder
1 pound Rabbit meat, including loins
¼ cup Shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup flat leave Italian parsley, finely chopped
Nutmeg, Salt and freshly ground black pepper — to taste
½ cup heavy cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
½ cup pistachios
3 bay leaves
Trim the pork shoulder of some of its fat and cut it into 1-inch chunks. Place the pork butt, shallots, parsley, nutmeg salt and pepper into a large bowl and mix well. At this point you can chill the ingredients overnight if you like.
Working in batches, add the meat mixture (except the rabbit) to a food processor and pulse until the meat is well chopped but still chunky. Remove all but 1/3 of the meat mixture to a large bowl and process the remaining until it is smoother, but still has some texture. Remove the smoother mixture to the mixing bowl that contains the other meat.
Combine the cream, eggs, flour, and cognac or brandy in a medium bowl and beat with a whisk until smooth. Stir this egg mixture into the meat mixture, stirring well to combine and blend.
Make a small patty with some of the meat and cook it in a hot skillet. Allow to cool and then taste the patty. Adjust the salt and other seasonings of the remaining meat mixture to taste. Note that the meat should be well seasoned.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of a pâté or terrine mold or a 1 1/2-quart glass nonreactive loaf pan with bacon, leaving the extra bacon to hang over the sides of the pan.
Place half the meat mixture into the terrine mold. Next layer the rabbit pieces in one layer. Add the pistachios down the center. Add in the remaining half of the meat mixture on top of the rabbit pieces.
Smooth out the meat and tap the mold on the counter to get rid of any air pockets. Place the bay leaves across the top and bring the extra bacon up over the top of the pâté. Cover the terrine with the lid or a piece of aluminum foil.
Place the terrine in a heatproof baking dish large enough to hold it and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides. Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the pâté reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
Remove from the oven, cool completely and then refrigerate overnight or for up to 1 week. Unmold and serve with baguette, cornichons and Dijon mustard . It would also be delicious with a green salad and a glass of chilled Chardonnay or a Rosé on the patio some summer evening.
Photograph by David Schmit