Sunday, October 2, 2011

Venison Terrine

Sprouts had ground venison.  I've had venison steak, but never worked with it ground.  They also have ground antelope and several cuts of bison.  I'm starting a new catchall category for every uncommon meat.

Terrines are fancy meatloafs that are served cold and take two days to make.  Other than that, they're easy.  You can use a regular bread loaf pan if you don't have a terrine mold.  Because I wanted something the right size to put on crackers, I used the three mini-loaf pans I bought this summer.  Generally, there should be more fat in a terrine, to keep it tender.  I subbed in bread crumbs because I don't care if it isn't buttery smooth.  There's a lot of cream to supply some fat.

Yes, there are a whole lot of ingredients in this one.  However, you're only using a few at a time.  I'll try to break it up to make it more manageable.

1 lb ground venison
marinade ingredients (see below)
top garnish (see below that)
1/4 C breadcrumbs
1 C heavy cream
1 egg
1/4 C pine nuts, pan-toasted
1/4 C dried cranberries, plumped in 1 Tb red wine

1 tsp ground peppercorns
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tb (1 oz) red wine
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Top Garnish
2 shallots (1/4 lb), thinly sliced
6 baby portobello (crimini) mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tb balsamic vinegar
1 Tb oil
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Combine marinade ingredients.  Knead marinade into meat.  Cover and place in refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight.

2.  The next day, sauté mushrooms and shallots in oil until very soft, about 10 minutes.  Add balsamic vinegar and salt.  Cook one more minute.  Set aside.  Try not to eat out of pan.

3.  In food processor, place marinated meat, bread crumbs, cream, and egg.  Process until a very smooth paste forms.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Fold in pine nuts.  Drain any liquid from cranberries and fold them in.

4.  Preheat oven to 300º.  Place terrine mold in a 3"-deep roasting pan.  Start boiling a whole lot of water.  If desired, line mold with heavy plastic wrap to make it easier to turn out the terrine and clean the pan.

5.  Spread onion mixture on bottom of mold.  This will be the top when you turn out the terrine.  Drop forcemeat paste on top of onions.  Spread evenly throughout the mold.  Wrap top of mold tightly in heavy foil.  This prevents steam from getting into the mold and upsetting the moisture balance.  Place roasting pan setup on oven rack.  Add the boiling water at least halfway up the side of the mold, for gentle cooking.

6.  Cook terrine until thermometer reaches 160º, about 1-1/2 hours if using a loaf pan, slightly less for a terrine mold.  The mini-loafs took less than 45 minutes.  When you pull out the thermometer, the juices should run clear instead of red.  Remove from oven and from roasting pan.  Remove foil and allow to cool to 120º on the counter.

7.  Place plastic wrap on top of terrine mold, then add a weight which fits the pan.  I suggest another loaf pan if that's what you're using, and weigh it down with something like jars of tomato sauce or soda cans.  What you're doing is forcing the liquid fat in the pan to disperse evenly within the terrine and on the bottom.  Place the pressing terrine in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

8.  Half an hour before service, turn out of mold onto serving plate and allow to warm slightly.  If it sticks, loosen edges with a thin spatula and/or use the warm-water Jello unmolding technique.  Once the fat gets a little warm, it will fall right out.  Use as a spread or serve as an appetizer with currant jam.

Serves 8 to 12 as an appetizer

Difficulty rating  :)

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