We have made good use of the game season so far, and even though wild rabbits do not really have a season it still feels appropriate for us to enjoy them when the rest of the game is in season.
Wild rabbit here at the British Larder is popular, and this terrine is no exception. Not only is this terrine a work of art but tasty at the same time. I combine the wild rabbit meat with lightly smoked ham knuckle which comes from our good friends down at Dingley Dell farm along with the ever so pretty Trompette de la Mort mushrooms and the bright green Savoy cabbages. We serve this terrine with home made quince chutney and toasted sour dough bread from Pump Street Bakery.
Making terrines is hard work; it takes skill and precision. It’s also a very satisfying job, once you cut into that first slice and admire the beauty of the marbling, and the taste if it’s seasoned well enough, is a very gratifying feeling. I like to make each and every terrine myself; perhaps because selfishly it’s the only thing I have complete control over, making the terrine from scratch and when it turns out beautifully it’s so greatly satisfying.
It’s amazing after all these years that something as simple as a terrine still excites me as a chef, I love making them, love nurturing them and turning them out to admire the splendor of craftsmanship. I have an immense amount of respect for a terrine, and these thoughts take me back to the hard days of Michelin starred kitchens. Your heart is racing in your throat, the chef is glaring at you as you turn it out onto the chopping board, and as you pick up the knife, his words cut through your head as he’s waiting for you to make a mistake. It took me a long time to gather the confidence and guts to cut the terrines, but those days are gone by and this is now our own restaurant, and yes, now I’m the big bad wolf standing and glaring at Steve as he cuts into the terrines! I hardly give him a hard time about the terrines, however, I hope that one day he will also have that sense of pride when he tells these kind of stories when he is older and wiser. I hope the pride and passion rubs off….I’m sure it does as he is also making some beautiful terrines.
Ingredients & Method
Wild Rabbit Terrine
- 2 wild rabbits
- 2 lightly smoked ham knuckles
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 leek
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 5 peppercorns
- 8 leaves of gelatine, bloomed
- 1 savoy cabbage
- 200g trompette de la mort mushrooms
- 1tbs butter
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 250ml white wine vinegar
- 250g caster sugar
- 100g golden sultanas
- 1kg ripe quinces
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 50g ginger, pureed
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the Wild Rabbit Terrine. Cook the ham hocks and make the jelly: Place the hocks in a deep saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil, removing the impurities. Top the water up and add the carrot, leek, celery, two sprigs of thyme, peppercorns and coriander seeds. Simmer for about 3 hours until the ham is cooked. Pass the liquid through a fine sieve and measure 1L of the cooking liquid. Soak the gelatine in cold water and add it to the 1L of warm stock. Flake the ham meat from the bone and remove the fat.
Cook the rabbit legs: Remove the rabbit back and front legs, remove the loins and set aside. Place the legs with 1tbs of olive oil, salt and the remaining thyme and one garlic clove in a vacuum bag, seal and cook them in a preheated water bath at 83°C for 12 hours. Flake the cooked meat.
Wash and sauté the Trompette de la Mort mushrooms in butter, season and drain. Remove only the very green leaves of the cabbage, shred and blanch in salted water, refresh and drain.
Cook the rabbit loins in a non-stick frying pan with butter for about 5 – 6 minutes until slightly pink, rest the loins for 5 minutes before assembling the terrine.
Heat the stock and pour some of the hot stock over the cooked ham and flaked rabbit meat.
Line a terrine mould with clingfilm; build the terrine starting with the ham and some stock, followed by the cabbage and mushrooms, season after every third layer. Follow with the flaked rabbit meat, more mushrooms and cabbage, place the loins in and add more stock. Complete the terrine layer by layer until the mould is packed, make sure the last layer is a layer of ham, close the clingfilm over the terrine and place a heavy weight on top. Place the terrine in the fridge and leave to set over night.
For the Quince Chutney. Peel and dice the quinces into 1cm diced pieces. Place all the ingredients with seasoning in a large saucepan over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved bring the mixture to a rapid boil and simmer until the chutney becomes thick. You will notice that the bubbles become laboured and heavier. Stir regularly to prevent the chutney from sticking. Cook until the chutney is the right consistency.
To Serve, slice the terrine 1.5cm thick, glaze with truffle oil and season if needed with sea salt flakes. Serve the terrine with a light salad and the quince chutney along with toasted brioche or sour dough bread.