Perfect for dinners on special occasions, practical because they can be prepared in advance, decidedly scenographic and spreadably greedy, terrines and pâtés are an ideal entrée for end-of-year gatherings
The atmosphere is suggestive, because it is a special evening: there are perhaps Christmas ramage compositions, perhaps a garland on the door and many candles, perhaps some red bow placed here and there to contribute to theambiance, there is the tree, decorated and sparkling like the crystals and decorations on the table. It is a party evening, you can breathe there’Crisp air of great occasions and in the kitchen there is excitement. Once the aperitif is served, the appetizers begin to arrive and the guests take a seat at the table.
Appetizers, especially on festive occasions, play an important role: they warm up the conviviality – and the appetite – on tiptoe, they anticipate the solemnity of the meal without being serious. Waiting for the usual latecomers, toast, laugh, taste, admire – the appetizer is spectacular, let's remember, it anticipates the effect wow of the more substantial courses that will follow.
Terrines, rillettes and pâté are ideal: they are elegant, scenic, comfortable and above all you can prepare in advance, freeing the cook who has to concentrate on the courses that are classically protagonists. Terrines, such as rillettes and pâtés, for a long time relegated, thanks to their French provenance, to an undeserved (largely) image of snobbery or extreme difficulty in preparation, are over the years – sometimes becoming Italian with the name of pasticcio – they have become part of the culinary heritage of Italian regions such as Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Veneto, even Sicily.
We must also remember that, while pate, mousse And terrines they are often understood as synonyms, from a strictly technical – and implementation – point of view there are some differences. Terrines usually require a passage in the oven and the ingredients are coarsely chopped; the pâtés, on the other hand, require the preliminary cooking or marinating of the ingredients, which will then be chopped very finely and tied with butter for a super spreadable effect. The less known rillettes are also spalmonds like pates, but have a less smooth consistency, thanks to the presence of coarser minced meat. Finally, mousses are a delicious variant of creamy pâté, thanks to the addition of fresh cream that makes them particularly soft and frothy. All variations in the name of softness, whether we are talking about preparations of fish, sea or river, or meat, whether simple or precious; which are served in a crust or in jelly, or elegantly sliced.
A tip: in the terrines it is very important that, when cut, the slices are compact and with very evident layers: spread the creamiest mixes evenly, leveling them with a spatula; add the other ingredients symmetrically and beat the mold on the work surface as you go, to eliminate any air bubbles and settle everything. At the end, press with your hands or cover with parchment paper and place a weight on it.
If you are passionate about the world of terrines & C., here is a volume not to be missed (also splendid as a gift, as long as you want to share your "secrets" …): Terrines, rillettes, sausages and pies. 80 homemade recipes of the great French tradition – Slow Food Editore, € 29.90
Pâté, savory pies, terrines, rillettes, pies and many other preparations pillars of the French gastronomy told by Gilles and Nicolas Verot, father and son, charcutier for generations. Their Parisian workshop Maison Verot, a destination for gourmands from all over the world, is perhaps the highest point of reference in the world for this particular art, similar to but different from the Italian butcher or butcher. The charcutier is in fact a chef: the recipes in the volume are in fact all replicable in the home kitchen, without the need for unavailable ingredients or special tools. Beautiful photographs and illustrations explain, step by step, each procedure, from the choice of raw materials to the final result, with basic and traditional techniques, of 89 recipes. Here are some recipes extracted from the volume.
Duck and apricot terrine
Ingredients for 6 people: 650 g of whole pork belly (or 500 g of minced bacon) – 800 g of duck breast – 125 g of dried apricots – 1 egg – 50 g of fresh cream – 3 level teaspoons of salt – 4 pinches of ground pepper
1) With a knife, remove the skin (rind) and possibly the bone, taking care to preserve the fat of the bacon, then cut it into cubes of about 7 mm. Remove the skin from the duck breast and cut it into cubes of about 1.5 cm. Reduce the apricots to the same size. Place the bacon in the container of a food processor, season with salt and pepper, then mix with the robot at minimum speed.
2) Pour the egg and cream into the tray of and knead again until the mixture is homogeneous. Add the apricots and duck. Work vigorously by hand or with a food processor at minimum speed for 5 minutes. Transfer everything to a mold and press well. Put the mold in the cold oven. Set the temperature to 160 ° C and cook in a convection oven for an hour and a half.
3) With absorbent paper, remove any imperfections on the edges of the bowl while it is still hot.
Let it rest for an hour at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. Take half an hour before serving. Keep cool and use within four days.
Terrine of Quebec
Ingredients for 6 people: 550 g of whole pork belly or 400 g of minced bacon – 400 g of boneless pork loin or 400 g of minced loin – 100 g of dried cranberries – 330 g of light beer – 1 egg – 50 g of fresh cream – 3 level teaspoons of salt – 4 pinches of ground pepper
1) Pour the blueberries into a large glass and cover with beer. With a knife, remove the skin (rind) and possibly the bone, taking care to preserve the fat on the bacon, then cut it into cubes of about 7 mm. Cut the loin into cubes of about 1.5 cm. Place the bacon in the container of a food processor), season with salt and pepper, then mix with the robot at minimum speed.
2) Pour the egg and cream into the bowl and knead again until the mixture is homogeneous. Add the blueberries, half of the beer and the pieces of loin to the bowl. Work vigorously with the food processor at minimum speed for 5 minutes. Transfer everything to a mold and press well. Put the mold in the cold oven. Set the temperature to 160 ° C and cook in a convection oven for an hour and a half.
3) With absorbent paper, remove any imperfections on the edges of the bowl while it is still hot. Let it rest for an hour at room temperature, then refrigerate overnight. Take half an hour before serving. Keep cool and use within four days.
Le Mans style rillettes
Ingredients for 6 people: 1 kg of pork loin – 500 g of lard – 6 teaspoons of salt – 6 pinches of ground pepper
1) Cut the loin into cubes of 3 cm per side. Melt the lard over medium heat in an earthenware pot. Lower the heat keeping just a light boil, insert the loin cubes and let it simmer, with the lid on, for about 4 hours. Add the salt and pepper generously halfway through cooking.
2) Turn the pieces of meat every hour, until they fall apart in contact with the spatula. Empty the pan by pouring the fat into a bowl and transferring the pieces of pork to a plate. Sfilacciateli by hand, then pour them into the bowl with three quarters of the fat and mix.
3) Place the bowl in the refrigerator and stir every 15 minutes for an hour and a half, until a homogeneous preparation is obtained. Leave to rest in a cool place for 8 hours. Take half an hour before serving. Keep refrigerated and use within four days.
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