French Country Terrine

by Lana Stuart on February 22, 2013 · 18 comments

French Country Terrine

This recipe will be a bit out of the ordinary for me. I know you usually expect fairly easy, family-friendly fare from Never Enough Thyme, but every once in a while I really enjoy expanding my culinary horizons and making something I’ve never done before. It’s the challenge, really, that intrigues me. We all need to get out of our rut on occasion and do something different. Don’t we?

I’ve wanted to make this recipe ever since I saw it on French Food at Home, a really wonderful show on the Cooking Channel. It’s hosted by Laura Calder, a Canadian-born and French-trained chef. I was so intrigued by the recipe that I recorded the show in which she made it and watched it over and over. I pretty much want to make every single thing she cooks. The show is really that good.

Making a terrine may at first glance seem complicated, but it surely is not! Let me tell you – if you can make meatloaf, you can make this terrine. When you boil it down, all it really is is a meatloaf that’s cooled and pressed. That’s it! And did you know that terrines are not limited to meats? Basically anything you can mold into a loaf shape can be called a terrine. I included some links at the end of this post to several different types of terrines. Some are veggies, some are fruits, and there are even dessert terrines.

My understanding about this particular terrine is that it’s a fairly classic French recipe and is generally served as a first course or either used as picnic food. It’s usually enjoyed with slices of baguette, good Dijon mustard and cornichons. A nice little glass of wine goes well, too!

Start by melting the butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cooking them until they are soft but taking care not to let them brown. at all. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the onion-garlic mixture from the heat, stir in the brandy and let this cool while you proceed with the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Meats for French Country Terrine

Combine the meats in a large mixing bowl.That’s ground pork, ground veal, and calves’ liver. Just a note – I cannot find fresh calves’ liver anywhere around here but it is available frozen. If using frozen, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator and it will be just fine. Also, if you just can’t stand the taste of calves’ liver, you can leave it out substituting an additional 8 ounces of ground veal. Your terrine will have a much milder taste and you may fine that you need more seasonings.

Mixing with the stand mixer

To the meats, add the onion-garlic mixture and all remaining ingredients except bacon. Mix thoroughly. You can mix everything with a wooden spoon and a strong arm, but I find that this is much easier done in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

Stop here and cook a quarter-sized patty of the mixture. Taste to check for seasonings and adjust if necessary.

Stretching the bacon

Using the back side of a knife, stretch the bacon to about twice its length.

Line the terrine with bacon

Line a terrine or loaf pan with bacon strips. Cut strips in half to line the short ends. Allow the ends of the bacon to drape over the sides of the pan.

Pack the meat mixture into the terrine

Pack the meat mixture into the terrine or loaf pan making sure not to leave any air pockets in the mixture. In the photo, I’m using a somewhat smaller terrine so my mixture mounds on top a bit. If you’re using a loaf pan, you’ll have plenty of room to press the mixture down into the pan. Fold the overhanging bacon strips over the top and sides of the mixture adding additional strips to the top only if needed.

Cover the terrine with parchment

Cover the top with a piece of parchment paper, then cover the terrine with foil.

Add boiling water to the pan

Put the terrine in a roasting or baking pan and pour enough boiling water in the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the terrine. Place in the oven and cook for 1 to 2 hours. A precise cooking time is difficult because it depends so much on the size of terrine or loaf pan you use. You’ll need to test the mixture starting after one hour cooking. Use an instant read meat thermometer for best results. Mixture should be at 160 degrees to be fully cooked.

Remove the terrine from the water and cool completely at room temperature. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit over the cooked terrine in the pan. Wrap the cardboard in foil. Place on top of the terrine and top with a heavy can, a foil-wrapped brick or some other heavy object to provide weight and refrigerate overnight.

Slice and serve with baguette, Dijon mustard, and cornichons.

Enjoy!

French Country Terrine
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A classic French country terrine made with a mixture of pork, veal, and calves liver.
Ingredients
  • 2 tblsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 8 oz. calves liver, coarsely chopped
  • 8 oz. ground veal
  • 1¼ cups breadcrumbs
  • 1 tblsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1½ tsp. chopped fresh chives
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 eggs
  • 8 oz. bacon
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft taking care not to let the onions brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the heat, add the brandy and let cool while you proceed with the recipe.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine the meats in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion mixture, and remaining ingredients except bacon. Mix thoroughly. This is much easier done in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Fry a quarter-sized patty, check for seasonings and adjust if necessary.
  4. Using the back side of a knife, stretch the bacon to about twice its length. Line a terrine or loaf pan with bacon strips. Cut strips in half to line the short ends. Allow the ends of the bacon to drape over the sides of the pan. Pack the meat mixture into the terrine or loaf pan making sure not to leave any air pockets in the mixture. Press down evenly molding a slightly mounded top. Fold the overhanging bacon strips over the top and sides of the mixture adding additional strips to the top only if needed.
  5. Cover the top with a piece of parchment paper, then cover the terrine with foil.
  6. Put the terrine in a roasting or baking pan and pour enough boiling water in the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the terrine. Place in the oven and cook for 1 to 2 hours. You’ll need to test the mixture with a meat thermometer to judge when cooking is complete. Mixture should be at 160 degrees to be fully cooked.
  7. Remove the terrine from the water and cool completely at room temperature. Place a heavy can, a foil-wrapped brick or some other heavy object on top of the terrine and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Slice and serve with baguette, Dijon mustard, and cornichons.
Notes
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Other terrine recipes you might enjoy from around the internet:

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria February 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

I’ve never made a terrine!

Reply

2 Lana February 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm

It’s so easy, Maria. You should try it sometime!

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3 Amanda February 23, 2013 at 11:22 am

Wow that actually sounds really good to me! Never made one before. I LOVE cold meatloaf on sandwiches, so this sounds similar. Great post Lana!

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4 Lana February 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Thanks, Amanda. It was something a little different for me, but I really enjoyed the challenge. I love trying classic recipes from all around the world.

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5 TidyMom February 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

my dad would have loved this recipe

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6 Lana February 25, 2013 at 8:59 am

Mine, too, Cheryl. Wish I’d tried it while he was still here to share it.

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7 Charlie February 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Hello!

Could you please tell me how many would this serve?

Also could it be cut up and frozen? How long would it last?

Have a Joyful Day :~D
Charlie

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8 Lana February 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Charlie – as an appetizer, my estimate is that this would easily serve 20 people. It should be sliced very thinly and each slice would make at least 4 servings on top of slices of baguette. It is very rich and is eaten in very small amounts. Sorry, I haven’t frozen it so I can’t answer that question.

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9 Charlie February 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Thank you Lana :~D
Charlie

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10 Miss P February 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm

This just looks wonderful. I can almost taste some really good bread and a crisp wine with it.

Miss P

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11 Lana February 25, 2013 at 9:02 am

Yes! This would be perfect for a very elegant picnic or for a cocktail party.

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12 Sues February 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

I’ve never even considered making terrine, but you’re totally inspiring me! This looks great!

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13 Lana February 25, 2013 at 9:03 am

You should try it! If you can make a meatloaf, you can make a terrine. Really.

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14 Oliver Denton February 25, 2013 at 11:24 am

That looks delicious – your first shot looks just like my lunch table during Spring and Summer (Ok…yours is slightly more beautiful…)

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15 Lana February 25, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Thank you, Oliver. This is one of my photos that I was actually happy with.

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16 Nancy@acommunaltable February 26, 2013 at 11:37 am

Good for you Lana for stepping out of your “comfort zone”!! I haven’t made a terrine since culinary school – and you are right, they sound much harder than they actually are! Have to admit I ate more than my fair share of terrines when we were in France – our last night in the chateau we cleaned out the fridge for dinner – it was all cheese, charcuterie and terrines… with lots of good bread, cornichons and dijon mustard. Ok, there was wine too!!!

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17 Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles March 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

I’ve never made a terrine – yours looks fabulous and flavorful!

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18 Lana March 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Thanks, Brenda. It was a lot of fun to make and really delicious, too.

Reply

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