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Pheasant Terrine

This is excellent served as a light lunch with lovely crisp gherkins and lightly toasted bread. It also goes a long way at a help-yourself buffet party, or as a first course with some Cranberry and Onion Confit – but don't be tempted to serve too big portions as a first course because it is very rich.

 Pheasant Terrine

  Serves 10-12

 1 plump young hen pheasant, plucked and dressed
 12 oz (350 g) lean veal, minced
 1 lb (450 g) fat belly of pork, minced
 8 oz (225 g) turkey livers, minced
 10 oz (275 g) unsmoked lean bacon, chopped small
 ½ level teaspoon ground mace
 2 cloves garlic, crushed
 1 level teaspoon mixed pepper berries, crushed
 15 juniper berries, crushed
 5 fl oz (150 ml) dry white wine
 1 fl oz (25 ml) brandy
 1 rounded teaspoon salt
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You will also need a 3 pint (1.75 litre) loaf tin or terrine.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas.


Begin by removing all the meat from the pheasant. The best way of going about this is as if you were boning it: that is, start by turning the bird breast side down and cutting down the length of the backbone. With a small sharp knife work your way down one side of the bird, severing the legs and wings from the body as you work down to them, and on until the top edge of the breastbone is reached.

Do the same with the other side, then lift the carcase from the skin and meat. Remove the meat from the skin; cut the meat from the leg and wing joints, then cut the larger pieces of meat into sugar cube-sized pieces, discarding any remaining skin, sinew or shot (all the discarded bits, including the carcase, could be used to make some stock to store in the freezer).

To make the terrine, mix the pheasant meat thoroughly with all the other ingredients. Cover and leave in a cool place for several hours.

Then, before cooking the terrine, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).

Stir everything in the bowl again, then press the mixture into the terrine and place that in a roasting tin half filled with hot water.

Bake the terrine for about 1¾-2 hours – by the time it has cooked it will have shrunk quite a bit from the sides of the tin.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool without draining off any of the juices because when cold the surrounding fat will help to keep the terrine moist, even though you won't actually eat any of it.

When the terrine is cold, place a double sheet of foil over it and put something heavy (I always use my scale weights) on top to press it down for a few hours.

This step is not essential but it helps to make the terrine less crumbly if you want to serve it in neat slices.


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