Makes two terrines to serve 20 as a starter, or 10 for a tasty lunch. Ideally make one or two days beforehand.
2 wild rabbits
20 rashers smoked streaky bacon
750g belly pork
4 shallots, finely diced
Leaves from 10 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp crushed peppercorns
Jar of cornichons
100g pistachio kernels, lightly bashed
Slug of Grand Marnier
Kitchen extras: 2x 900g loaf tins, aluminium foil, food processor.
To serve: chutney, sourdough bread.
1. Joint the legs and strip them of meat. Take care to fillet out the loins, keeping them as whole as possible, and set aside.
2. Cut the fat from the top of the belly pork and put aside for pork scratchings. Dice the remainder of the pork and put it into a large-blade food processor with the rabbit leg meat. Blitz until it resembles sausage meat. Turn out into a large bowl.
3. Melt the butter with the diced shallots and thyme leaves; cook on a low heat until soft and translucent, then add to the processed meat.
4. Add a generous slug of Grand Marnier, all the crushed peppercorns and two good pinches of rock salt. Mix well and leave, covered in cling film, in the fridge for two hours.
5. Warm up the same pan as used for the shallots until it’s slightly smoking and place the loins in. Brown them all over, remove and set aside – don’t cook all the way through.
6. Put the oven on at 160°C or get your top-left-Aga-door-opening arm ready. Neatly cut foil so that it lines the bottom of the loaf tins, leaving enough overlapping the edge so you can pull the terrines cleanly out later.
7. Using the blade of the knife, stretch 10 rashers of bacon to about 12" or 30cm and line the tin, overlapping each piece and leaving the ends overhanging both sides of the tin. Put a quarter of the meat into one tin and press hard with a metal spoon. Press two of the loins into the meat leaving a channel to fill with a line of cornichons. Press these in and sprinkle half the pistachios over the lot. Add another quarter of the meat and press down hard again with the spoon. Fold the bacon edges back over the meat and fold the foil over the top of the bacon. Repeat with the second loaf tin.
8. Wrap both loaf tins fully in more foil and put them side-by-side into a deep rectangular dish. Pour boiling water into the dish until it’s about two-thirds of the way up the side of the tins. Put into the oven or top left Aga and leave them to bake for two hours.
9. After two hours, switch the oven off and leave the terrines in there to cool down overnight. If you need the oven then take them out to rest until they reach room temperature, in a safe place.
10. Don’t be surprised if you see, upon opening the foil, that liquid has leached out of the terrines. This is normal.
11. To press the terrines, fold up pieces of cardboard and newspaper so that they sit inside the rim of the loaf tin and put a flat-bottomed, heavy object on the top. Leave for an hour or two before removing the weight and the cardboard, and put in the fridge for at least two hours – ideally another 24 or 48 hours, as it matures well.
12. Unwrap your foil parcel and pull out the terrine. The liquid will have turned to a delicious gelée and you can crack the excess fat off. Turn the terrine upside down to show off your bacon layering pattern, slice into 1cm-thick portions and serve with a dollop of the gelée, extra cornichons, homemade chutney and toasted sourdough.