Terrines like this duck and fig version in David Lebovitz's new cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, look difficult, but they're actually not much harder than making a meatloaf. If you've got a way to grind meat (in a food processor, in a meat grinder, or even by chopping with a sharp knife), you're in business. Lebovitz's country-style terrine is rustic and rich, studded with tangy cornichon pickles and booze-soaked figs.
Why I picked this recipe: Really—what charcuterie-lover could pass up a duck and fig-filled terrine?
What worked: I loved the way the flavor of the duck bridged the intensity of the mild pork and mineraly chicken livers. Plus, the chewy and sweet figs make a nice surprise.
What didn't: My only problem was finding a weight the right size to weigh the terrine down evenly. If you have two bread pans, I'd suggest using one as a base for your weight (a jar filled with water or some canned goods) so that it will press down the entire terrine. I tried laying a mason jar in the middle and ended up with a concave (yet still tasty) terrine.
Suggested tweaks: Lebovitz suggests substituting boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the duck meat if need be. You can also use other dried fruits in place of the figs if you'd like. Apricots would be particularly nice. The terrine is wonderful spread on bread or crackers, but you can also serve it as a hearty sandwich (pictured above) with mustard and sliced cornichons
Reprinted with permission from My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stoires by David Lebovitz. Copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 3/4 cup (100g) diced dried figs
- 1/2 cup (125ml) Cognac or brandy
- 12 ounces (340g) boneless, skinless duck meat or chicken thighs, cubed
- 1 3/4 cups (170g) unsmoked cubed thick-cut bacon or pancetta
- 8 ounces (225g) chicken livers
- 1 3/4 pounds (800g) boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, ground
- 4 small shallots, or 1 small onion, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup (40g) coarsely chopped cornichons or pickles
- 1/4 cup (60ml) juice from the cornichon jar
In a small saucepan, heat the dried fruits with the Cognac or brandy just to the point where the liquid begins to simmer. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.
Scatter the duck meat and bacon on a dinner plate and place the plate in the freezer until the edges of the meats are frozen.
Preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC).
Puree the liver in a food processor, add the partially frozen duck meat and bacon, and process until the mixture is a almost a smooth paste, but slightly chunky.
Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and add the pork, shallots, garlic, mustard, salt, thyme, allspice, cloves, ginger, and a few grinds of a peppermill. Add the eggs, cornichons, pickle juice, and the plumped dried fruits along with any liquid with them; mix very well.
Pack the terrine mixture into a deep 9 by 5-inch (23 by 13cm) loaf pan (see note). Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit over the top, then seal the top of the pan with aluminum foil. Set the loaf pan in a larger baking dish and add enough very hot water to reach a little over halfway up the outside of the loaf pan.
Bake for about 11/2 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer stuck in the center registers 160oF (71oC). Remove from the oven. Lift the terrine out of the water bath and carefully pour out the hot water. Place the terrine back in the larger dish and put a brick (or another flat, heavy object) on the foil on top of the terrine and let cool to room temperature. During the cooling, any juice that overflows should be collected and chilled; a dab of the jelly makes an excellent accompaniment when serving.
Once cool, refrigerate the terrine for 2 days before serving, to allow the terrine to season. Slice it directly from the pan. It may crumble a bit, as it’s a country-style (chunky) terrine. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. I don’t recommend freezing because it changes the texture of the terrine.
Note: This terrine mixture will fit into a loaf pan that has a 2 1/2-quart (2.5l) capacity, or you can bake it in any kind of deep mold that you wish; those made of metal, glass, earthenware, or ceramic will work well. If you have a little terrine mixture left over, it can be baked in a smaller vessel alongside the larger one; cook it until the internal temperature reaches 160oF (71oC).