Summer’s heat is a distant memory, the sun takes longer to rise above the hills of Meadowbrook, and winter is closing in. Some of the trees still have a few leaves clinging to them. Without leaf cover, hunting becomes a bit harder but one of my favourite hiding places is the old quince thicket which still has many leaves and lots of fruit on its branches. This is a great place during the summer for escaping the heat as well as being a fantastic hiding place to set up an ambush at any time of the year. The hens fall for it every time and although it’s not worth my whiskers to do them any real damage it’s a bit of fun and keeps me from getting bored.
This is a great place during the summer for escaping the heat as well as being a fantastic hiding place to set up an ambush at any time of the year. The hens fall for it every time and although it’s not worth my whiskers to do them any real damage it’s a bit of fun and keeps me from getting bored.
Quinces always make me think of quince jelly and my Grandmother’s Rabbit Terrine with Prosciutto, Fennel and Orange; a treat for all seasons. Even with the pork mince and fat in this terrine, this recipe is still healthy, truly delicious and it feeds quite a few mouths. An indulgence to share with friends.
Serve with a salad of your choice but don’t forget to add some peppery leaves or flowers.
250g boneless belly pork roughly minced
1.2kg rabbit meat
200g pork back fat or pure lard
500g pancetta or prosciutto, sliced
1/4 stick celery sliced very thinly (not leaves)
2 Spring onions diced. Keep some for the green for serving.
Fennel bulb sliced thinly into small pieces
1 bay leaf
5g fresh thyme leaves, picked and chopped (more if you like thyme)
5g allspice or cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
Fennel fronds from your bulb for decoration
Orange slices for decoration
Dice the rabbit meat into small even cubes, then set aside and discard the bones (or ask your butcher to bone and dice meat for you).
Dice the pork fat into the same sized cubes as the rabbit.
In a small glass or ceramic bowl combine the orange zest and juice, add bay leaf, thyme, spices, salt and pepper, and brandy.
Add pork mince in a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl with the rabbit, pork fat and finally the seasoned orange juice. Don’t overwork mince, just combine gently.
Cover the mix with plastic wrap making sure to push the plastic wrap down so that it is in contact with the meat. Marinate meat for 4 to 6 hours.
Combine thinly sliced fennel, celery and most of the spring onion mix in a pan and lightly cook (sweat off until they are about half cooked. You don’t want this mix coloured (caramelised) or soft. This will form layers between the meat mix.
When the terrine mix is ready lightly oil your terrine mould and then line with baking paper. Lightly spray this with oil and line with prosciutto. Make sure the baking paper and prosciutto slices overlap each other and overlap the tin. You need this to wrap up over the terrine to finish. This works best if the prosciutto is not cut too thinly as it needs some strength to hold the meat mix firmly when turned out.
Fill 1/3 of the mould with the cold meat mix making sure you press the mix down gently with your hands to fill the corners and to ensure no air is trapped. Add half of the fennel, celery and spring onion. Add more meat, then repeat with final layer being meat. Fill to the very top. The terrine, when turned out and cut, should have small chunky meat bits held together within the finer pork mince and show the layers of fennel and spring onion.
Finally, cover with the overhanging slices of prosciutto so it encloses the whole terrine. Fold over the baking paper and cover all with foil so that no water can bubble into the terrine and all the heat and steam from the cooking meat is trapped in.
Preheat oven to 140-150 C. You may have to adjust the heat for fan forced ovens and gas vs electric.
In a deep baking tray (large enough to fit your terrine or loaf pan), place a folded tea towel or cooling rack on the bottom. Place the terrine on top. Fill the tray with hot water until just over half way up the mould. Place into the oven and cook for 1 ¾ to 2 hours. Heat inside must reach 62C. Use a thermometer if unsure.
Once cooked, remove your terrine from the oven Allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove the foil from the mould and take off the lid. (If you’ve used a loaf tin you may not have a lid) Place a plate and something heavy on top of the cooked terrine (old kitchen weights are ideal) and press for at least 10 hours (overnight) in the fridge.
Turn the terrine out of the mould. Slice about 1.5 cm thick to keep its shape and serve with a nice salad of fresh lettuce leaves and rocket.
Accompaniments can include: fresh bread, gherkins, roasted capsicum and chilli paste, or foam (if you’re chefy) fresh fennel fronds and thinly sliced spring onion tips and mustard fruits or quince chutney are also delicious with this.