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  • Mike Reeber

Venison Terrine with Cognac Cherries


Sometimes, I think that everyone just assumes that the only wild game snacks available are summer sausage, jerky and jalapeño cheddar sticks. Agree? And though, those are usually the most common venison charcuterie items around deer camp and back at home, there are plenty of other ways to utilize your wild game meat supply, especially at this point in the year.


For all of you hardcore charcuterie fans out there, you're probably already familiar with what a terrine is. For the rest, it's basically a fancy way of saying a cooked meat mixture, wrapped in some kind of fat. I mean, what's not to like about that definition? What I like most about making these is that you can honestly add any ingredients that you want/have on hand to make something new every time. Depending on how the last deer season was for you, by now you might be running low on meat and might have some random steaks and cutlets left over. Because every bit of meat within this recipe is ground, this is a great time to use those random cuts of venison.


Given the fact that most, if not all wild game is very lean, you're going to need to add some fat to this recipe. Personally, I find that a basic pork sausage mix works well, as long as it doesn't have too much seasoning in it. It adds flavor, fat and is also easy to find in any market. For the rest of the ingredients, the possibilities are practically endless. In this recipe, I like to use spices like thyme, savory, nutmeg and course cracked pepper to enhance the flavor of the meat mixture. Then I add cognac soaked cherries and pistachios for extra texture. The end result is a great addition to your evening snack board to share around the table while telling hunting stories. Give it a try, you might just get hooked.


Venison Terrine


Ingredients

1 teaspoon of course cracked pepper

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, flakes

1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 dash of cayenne pepper, ground

1 dash of ground clove

1 tablespoon of fresh savory, finely chopped

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, finely chopped

3 tablespoons of pistachios, rough chopped

1/4 teaspoon of #1 salt

12 oz of venison, silver skin removed and cut into 1 inch chunks for grinding

6 oz of pork sausage, casing removed and ground

1/8 cup of plain breadcrumbs

1 pound of uncured bacon

1/4 cup of heavy cream

2 cups of sweet cherries, pitted, cut in half and thawed(if frozen)

2 cups of cognac, be sure to reserve 1/8 cup to use later


Now, it sounds like a lot of ingredients, but it's really not once you get going.


In a small bowl, add the cherries and cognac and refrigerate overnight. Once the cherries are soaked, it's time to prepare the rest of the ingredients. Start with running the venison chunks through a grinder. Personally, I like run everything through a course plate first and then send it through a second time using a fine plate. Once all of the meat is ground, it's time to combine most of the other ingredients. In a large bowl, add the ground venison, pork, savory, thyme, both salts, clove, cayenne, nutmeg, coriander, pistachios and pepper, mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together the heavy cream, breadcrumbs and 1/8 cup of the cognac from the soaked cherries. Once combined, pour into the larger bowl containing the meat.


At this point, it's imperative that you throughly mix all of the ingredients together. The cream, breadcrumbs and cognac will help smooth out the mixture, while helping to bind it together at the same time. Once mixed well, it's time to assemble.


Now, it helps if you have a terrine mold, but it is NOT needed if you don't have one. You can easily achieve the same end result using a loaf pan, with a weight on top.


Layer your mold using the strips of bacon, as shown below.

Next, add a layer, about 1 inch thick of the meat mixture. Push down into the mold to ensure that there are no air pockets. Also, make sure that this level is level on top(it will look better in the end when you cut it!).

Next, remove the cherries from the cognac and add on top of the meat, making sure to keep this level even.

Once the cherries are added, add the remaining meat or enough to create one final layer to fill up the side of the terrine mold. Again, press the meat down into the mold firmly to remove any pockets of air.

Before placing into the oven, take the loose ends of the bacon and wrap over the top of the terrine. Once this is done, place a weight on top of the mixture and cover with a lid. At this point, the terrine can be left in the refrigerator overnight or can be cooked immediately. The longer that it sits before cooking, the better the flavor tends to be.

To bake, preheat your oven to 325 F. Place your terrine mold in a pan about twice its size. This pan will be used to hold boiling water to help the cooking process. Fill this pan with enough water so that the terrine mold has water about 2/3 the way up. Place into the oven and bake for 1 hour or until the terrine reads a temperature of 155 F degrees .


Once cooked, let cool and remove from the mold. Keep refrigerated until you're ready to serve. Cut across into 1/2 inch slices and serve with toast and some grainy mustard.

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