You can’t beat what the earth turns out at this time of year. Rainbow chard, squash, mushrooms, purple sprouting and Jerusalem artichokes are some of the mouth watering delights that arrive at The Firehouse Somerset’s kitchen door every morning from our local suppliers.
A myriad of colours, root vegetables galore, all the brassicas, delicious local fish being landed off the Devon and Dorset coast (when its not blowing a gale,) and feathery braces of game to be hung and plucked.
We try and keep it simple, champion each individual ingredient and marry traditional flavours well.
We are dedicated to putting as many Autumnal delights on our specials menu as we can to give our faithful customers a reason to come back and stick a fork in something new, interesting and simple but scrumptious. We look forward to our local delivery of game and this month were inspired to make a West Country coarse game terrine.
Terrines have been a restaurant mainstay for well over half a century. It is a great dinner party starter, which you can make the day before and slice and plate before your guests arrive, so you can enjoy a little aperitif without being chained to the kitchen.
Here is how we make ours.
A selection of lean game meat, about 1kg/2¼lb in all, which could include:
Breasts of pheasant (hung about 5 days)
Breasts of pigeon
Breasts of duck or other wild fowl
Saddle and hindquarters of 1 rabbit, boned
Saddle and hindquarters of hare, boned
Lean strips of venison (from the leg or fillet)
Oil or fat, for frying
For the forcemeat
500g/1lb2oz sausage meat
livers from all the game, finely chopped
2 handfuls fresh white breadcrumbs
3 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
5-6 juniper berries, crushed in pestle and mortar (if you have them)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A splash of brandy
A splash of red wine
Salt and pepper
To line the dish
300g/10½oz streaky bacon, flattened with the back of a knife
In a large mixing bowl combine the sausage meat and the chopped livers from the game.
Next add the breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, thyme, juniper berries and garlic. Then the wine and brandy, season with the salt and pepper and mix everything together thoroughly, preferably with your hands.
Cut the game meat into roughly same-size strips, about 2 fingers thick.
In a heavy-based frying pan heat the fat or oil and fry the game pieces for 2 minutes until nicely browned.
Line a loaf tin or ceramic terrine dish with the stretched rashers of streaky bacon. Add a layer of forcemeat followed by a layer of game meat, then a layer of forcemeat followed by another layer of game meat. (If you like, you can put the same kind of meat in each layer, ie a layer of rabbit, a layer of pigeon and then a layer of pheasant). However many layers you make (I usually go for three) be sure to finish with a layer of the forcemeat.
Fold the exposed strips of bacon over the top of the terrine and cover well with kitchen foil. If your terrine dish has a lid on it so much the better.
Place the terrine dish in a roasting tin half-filled with hot water. Cook in the oven at 160C/325F/Gas 3 for approximately 1½-2 hours. Test with a skewer to see if it is cooked, if the skewer does not come out of the terrine piping hot then it is not ready.
For the best possible texture and easy slicing, your terrine should be pressed as it cools. Find a piece of wood or plastic that fits snugly inside the terrine dish and weigh it down with a brick or two. (Another similar size dish or loaf tin with a brick inside often does the trick, but wrap it in cling film if you're using a tin.) Leave the terrine until completely cold for several hours or overnight.
To serve the terrine, slice it thickly with a very sharp knife, put on a plate with a small salad of lightly dressed green leaves and a blob of good fruit chutney. Serve with hot toast.