This is an excellent terrine to make for a special occasion. It is rich and filling, and ever so tasty. And it is relatively easy to make, yielding excellent results for nominal effort. It uses dried porcini mushrooms, but fresh ones are just as good. Don't expect this to last long once your family know that you have it in the fridge.
Ingredients (Serves 10-12)
· 650gm-1kg boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1cm cubes (You need to experiment with the quantity to achieve a balance of flavours that suits you)
· 300gm Pancetta, or Parma ham, or similar
· 50gm dried Porcini mushrooms
· 2 tbsps good quality olive oil
· 6 echalion (Banana) shallots, peeled and finely chopped
· 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
· 20gm flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (You can use more, if you prefer, but not more than 40gm in total)
· 20gm fresh tarragon, finely chopped
· 100ml dry white wine
· Good grating of nutmeg
· salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will also need a lidded, 9cm-deep terrine dish (29x7.5cm), or a 2lb loaf tin; baking parchment, kitchen foil, and a piece of card slightly larger than the top of the dish or the tin.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4
· Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and when it is hot (but not smoking), add the shallots. Cook over a fairly high heat for 5 minutes until slightly tinged with brown at the edges (but not burnt).
· Then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool completely.
· Use 200gm of the Pancetta to line the terrine dish; make sure that the slices overlap, especially on the base, and that there is enough overhang to cover the top once the dish is filled.
· Finely slice the rest of the Pancetta, and put it in a large bowl with the chicken.
· Put the porcini in another bowl and add 200ml of boiling water. Soak for not less than 10 minutes.
· Strain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, and chop finely.
· Put the liquid from the mushrooms in a pan over a high heat and reduce to 1 tbsp. Allow to cool.
· Add the herbs to the chicken and Pancetta along with the cooled shallots, white wine and mushrooms, and season very well with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
· Strain the reduced mushroom liquid, then add it to the meat mixture. Give the whole thing a good mix with clean hands.
· Pack the mixture into the lined terrine dish/tin, and cover well with overlapping Pancetta, making sure there are no gaps. [If using a terrine dish, cover the surface of the terrine with baking parchment, and then put the lid on. If using a loaf tin, cover the surface of the terrine with a layer of baking parchment, followed by a double layer of foil folded under the rim to seal.]
· Place the dish in a roasting tin and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 1 hour if using a terrine dish, or 1 hour 15 minutes if using a loaf tin.
· Remove from the oven and uncover. Insert a metal skewer into the centre and wait for a few seconds. The juices should run clear: place the tip of the skewer against your bottom lip; if it is hot and the terrine feels firm to touch, then it is done. [If you have a kitchen thermometer, insert this into the centre of the terrine – the core temperature should be at or above 70°C.]
· Empty the water from the roasting tin, and return the terrine to it. Cover the terrine with baking parchment, and now press the terrine by using a piece of thick card to fit the top of the dish, cover with foil, place weights on top and leave for at least 1 hour.
· Remove the weights, and cover the terrine with the lid or fresh foil. When cool, chill in a fridge.
This terrine can be made up to three days ahead, if you are preparing it for a special occasion. Do not be afraid to slightly vary the ingredients by experimentation to suit your taste preferences, but don't overdo either the tarragon or the Porcini mushrooms.