This Christmas terrine is something special in both looks and taste. This terrine is wrapped in leaves of bacon with a pork and turkey filling studded with pistachios and whisky soaked cranberries. This is one of the most spectacular dishes you can serve over Christmas plus it is perfect for warmer weather. It's also easy to prepare and involves just mixing everything in a bowl together. An added bonus is that it can be made 3 days ahead of time and the flavours will mature and develop over this time. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
Terrines are a popular dish most commonly associated with French cuisine that is said to haveoriginated in the 11th century with the Romans, Greeks and French. Traditionally terrines are baked in a specific terrine mold with a lid. I don't have one and as I'm about to move, I'm limiting all purchases until after I move and nowadays they're baked in a variety of loaf tins.
Although terrines look difficult and like you've gone to an exhausting amount of trouble they are incredibly easy, especially ones like this. Lining the tin in bacon takes 5 minutes and the rest is like mixing meatballs. Most importantly this terrine is absolutely delicious. I loved the flavours together and the fennel seeds with the pork mince. It's so perfectly seasoned too with pops of crunchy pistachio and cranberry. This and my Mango & Cream Viennetta are my favourite Christmas dishes so far this year.
8 Tips For Making A Fantastic Terrine
1 - This terrine is super simple so there aren't any crazy tricks to it. On the outside you can use streaky bacon or prosciutto - eye bacon can also be used although this gives a slightly different visual effect. Some streaky bacon is long so it can reach from one end of the terrine to the other but mine wasn't so I had to layer two slices across. A lot of bacon or prosciutto is never a bad thing taste-wise anyway ;)
2 - For the inside you can use either turkey thigh or breast mince. Thigh mince is juicier and will produce a slightly darker colour. They only had turkey breast mince at the shops so I used that (my instinct would have been to use thigh mince). If you can't get turkey, chicken mince will absolutely do or you can use all pork mince for this. Or use duck or game mince for a richer version.
3 - Some terrines call for breadcrumbs, some don't. I always like using breadcrumbs as I think it lightens the texture of meatballs and mince mixtures. However if you want to keep it gluten free you can omit them.
4 - I used a 26.5 long x 7.5 wide x 7cms high/10.4 long x 2.9 wide x 2.7 high inches loaf tin with a 1.5 litre/0.4 gallon capacity which is a long, slenderish loaf tin and this mixture fits it perfectly.
5 - If you don't want to use whisky for soaking the cranberries you can use brandy or marsala wine or chicken stock or orange juice if you're keeping it non-alcoholic.
6 - Once you bake the terrine you may notice there are juices that come to the surface. Don't drain out those juices as this will dry your terrine out. Most of these juices get absorbed back into the terrine upon cooling and any extra becomes a jellied aspic.
Serving it with some fruit chutney
7 - Make sure to weigh down the terrine when it is cooling in the fridge. Some people use cans but I didn't have enough so I used a heavy marble chopping board. Weighing it down compresses the terrine to remove any air bubbles and makes it easy to cut. A good terrine has a uniform texture.
8 - Serve this with your favourite chutney and salad. Fresh herbs and fruit make this look beautifully Christmassy too.
It's getting very close to Christmas and with the COVID numbers increasing we're trying to limit going out so that we can enjoy Christmas with our families but there were a couple of things that we wanted to make sure that we ticked off the Christmas list. The first was a socially distanced Santa photo and we had booked in Teddy's Santa photos a few weeks earlier and locked in the last slot of the day. The last time we went there Santa looked like he was going through hell and we wondered if he was having a heart attack as he was sweating profusely and had his eyes closed for most of the time.
This time Santa was much perkier and very friendly and Teddy came outfitted in his flounciest red Christmas collar that he got from his lovely Japanese groomers. Although he looked slightly nervous he also posed with his arm just so. I just love this fabulous little dog!
Today we also released our last podcast episode of the year for Your Cake Dealer. It's an episode devoted to Christmas and the weird and wonderful Christmas traditions around the world. Nina and I only had a little bit of time to record it during this Christmas madness so it's a short and sweet "Christmas express" one but it's my favourite podcast episode so far (along with the one before it). And some of these Christmas traditions may just blow your mind (they did mine!). You can listen to it on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts from!
So tell me Dear Reader, how is all your Christmas prep going? What are your Christmas plans this year? Are you nervous about getting together at Christmas?
Pork, Pistachio & Cranberry Terrine
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 30 minutes plus cooling time (ideally overnight)
Cooking time: 1.5 hours
Degree of difficulty: moderately easy
This terrine can be made up to 3 days ahead of time
- 1/2 cup/75g/2.6ozs dried cranberries
3 tablespoons/60ml/2flozs whisky
650g-700g/23ozs-25ozs. streaky bacon
- 400g/14ozs. pork mince
- 400g/14ozs. turkey mince (or chicken)
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup/65g/2.3ozs toasted pistachios
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, finely processed
- 1.5 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Redcurrants, herbs and chutney to serve
Step 1 - Soak the cranberries in the whisky for 30 minutes or overnight. Line a 1.5litre/0.4gallon loaf baking tin (26.5 long x 7.5 wide x 7cms high/10.4 long x 2.9 wide x 2.7 high inches) with parchment and layer the streaky bacon overlapping it slightly. Also line the top and bottom ends with bacon. Have a larger baking tin ready to make a water bath and put a kettleful of water onto boil.
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 170C/338F. In a bowl mix the two minces, onion, garlic, beaten eggs, pistachios, cranberries and whisky, breadcrumbs, fennel seeds, salt, sugar and pepper and mix well both to distribute the seasoning but also the pistachios and cranberries. I always like to cook a bit up to taste it for seasoning first so heat up a small amount in the frying pan or microwave and test for flavour and seasoning. Spoon into the bacon lined tin and press down firmly to get rid of any air pockets or bubbles. Cover the top with parchment and then foil and place in the other baking tin and pour water from the kettle halfway up the sides. Place in the oven and bake for 1.5 hours.
Step 3 - Remove from oven and cool. Then weight down the terrine on top of the foil with cans and place in the fridge overnight and up to 3 days. Serve topped with redcurrants, rosemary and thyme. Slice and serve with your favourite chutney (I used an apricot chutney).