Game birds, such as pheasant and partridge, are a seasonal favorite of mine, and much underused. I’ve combined these two in this terrine and, to add to the autumnal theme, I’ve added chestnuts, with their lovely earthiness, as well as golden raisins for a touch of sweetness. You can buy cooked and peeled chestnuts in the supermarket, which are wonderfully easy to use. I find Muscatel golden raisins give the best flavor. Make sure you follow the timings, because you don’t want a dry terrine, which can easily happen when bird game is overcooked.
– PREPARATION TIME 45 minutes, plus 3 to 4 hours marinating, cooling and 2 days chilling.
– COOKING TIME 1 hour.
– ¼ cup golden raisins, such as Muscatel.
– 3 tablespoons Madeira.
– 2 pheasant breasts and legs, about 7 ounces total weight, skinned, boned and cut into large cubes.
– 4 partridge breasts and legs, about 7 ounces total weight, skinned, boned and cut into large cubes.
– 10 ounces pork belly fat, ground.
– 5 tablespoons Manzanilla or other dry sherry.
– ¾ teaspoon sea salt.
– ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
– 12 slices smoked bacon.
– 2 eggs.
– 7 tablespooons heavy cream.
– ¾ teaspoon dried tarragon.
– 1½ tablespoons roughly chopped cooked cooked chestnuts.
– chargrilled warm toast and mixed leaf salad, to serve.
Step 2: Heat the oven to 275°F. Use a double layer of plastic wrap to line the bottom and sides of a 10- x 4- x 3-inch terrine with a lid, ideally a cast-iron one. Line with the bacon, allowing both ends to overhang the sides. Leave the terrine to one side.
Step 3: Whisk together the eggs, cream and tarragon until combined. Using a spatula, gradually mix them into the meat, then stir in the chestnuts. Spoon the mixture into the prepared terrine and press down with the back of the spoon until it is even. Fold the overhanging bacon over the top to cover, then fold over the plastic wrap and cover with the terrine’s lid.
Step 4: Put the terrine in a deep roasting pan and pour in enough just-boiled water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the terrine. Bake 1 hour, then check if it is cooked through by inserting a thermometer into the middle; it should read 154°F. If the terrine is not ready, carefully return it to the oven 15 minutes longer and check again. Alternatively, you can insert a knife into the terrine and it should come out hot and dry if the terrine is ready.
Step 5: Remove the terrine from the roasting pan, take off the lid and top with a piece of parchment paper and a heavy weight, 2¼ to 2½ pounds. Leave the terrine to cool completely at room temperature. Once cool, cover and leave in the refrigerator couple of days before serving to let the flavors develop. Serve in thick slices with chargrilled toast and a mixed leaf salad.