Rabbit becomes Terrine, part 2

Posted on October 24, 2007. Filed under: food, local ingredients, rabbit, terrine | Tags: , , , , |




After soaking the rabbit for two days in brandy I was ready to tackle the terrine. I baked one rabbit whole with the herbs. My husband and I nibbled on it, especially enjoying the tenderloins. The rest went into the stock pot. A good de-glazing of the rabbit’s roasting pan produced a dark and luscious caramel of rabbit jelly. All was reserved with the terrine in mind. At the same time I roasted the rabbit, I roasted the pig’s knees with an onion. That too went into the stock pot.Rabbit number two I de-boned and ground with a hand-crank meat grinder; the kind that attaches to the kitchen counter top. It gives just the right consistency for terrine, not too fine, yet much finer than I could cut by hand. I reserved the tenderloins of the second rabbit and cut them into 2 inch cubes. I thought that it would be a shame to grind them, and I thought it would be great when eating the terrine to get a bite of pure tenderloin.Into the grinder as well went the livers of the two rabbits, two chicken livers, the between-the-rib meat and fat of a pork rib roast (it had been stowed away in the freezer since our last pork crown with the good intentions of a future terrine), about 1/4 pound of really fluffy pork fat and two stale french rolls. The rolls went through last because they help clean the fat out of the grinder.Meanwhile the stock was reducing to half. It was seasoned with fresh rosemary and thyme. After the stock cooled I added about a cup of it to the terrine mixture. All the brandy from the marinade went in too. Rosemary, thyme, fresh ground black pepper, salt and nutmeg also went into the mixture.I then made a simple pate brisee using 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of cold unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons of dry white wine and a pinch of salt. The reader may need to use a little more liquid, as our Brazilian butter is watery. As I rolled out the dough, I heated the oven to a medium heat and heated water for a bain marie. I lined two large loaf pans with parchment paper, cutting the paper carefully at the corners so it wouldn’t bunch up too much. I then lined each loaf pan with the pate brisee dough. I lined the pans with another layer of parchment. Then I filled each loaf pan with beans. I reserve beans for this occasion (and for pre-baking any pie shells). I’ve been baking them over and over again for about 10 years. I hope nobody makes the mistake and cooks them one day. The terrine dough was then pre-baked for about 15 minutes. The beans held the dough in place so it wouldn’t sag down the sides of the loaf pans.After removing the terrine shells, I carefully removed the beans (an put them away for the next time). I lowered the oven temperature to low. I waited a few minutes for the terrine shells to cool before filling them with the rabbit mixture. Meanwhile I rolled out the dough for the lids. They then went into the oven in a bain marie (I used a large roasting pan that fit the two loaf pans, and then filled it with simmering water). The two terrines baked low for about 2 1/2 hours covered with parchment paper, and then another 1/2 hour uncovered. The dough tops browned beautifully.I turned off the heat and removed the terrines from the bain marie. I returned the terrines to the cooling oven and let them sit there over night. The next day I moved them to the refrigerator to rest for 24 hours. Only then did I cut each terrine into smaller pieces. The texture was a delight, each bite a little different, not at all uniform, the tenderloin coming through at times. And the texture of the dough was also a pleasure. I had feared a soggy bottom, but the pre-baking seemed to keep the dough not crisp, but at least toothy. And the terrine itself stayed firm. I wrapped some of the pieces in parchment and then in a plastic bag to freeze them. The rest we enjoyed during the weekend with a chilled Chilean Viognier.


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