I’m up against the gun. It’s the big day and I’ve just put my terrine into the refrigerator to set. I’m hoping it will be ready this evening so I can try it before posting this addition to my blog. I put this off as long as possible. Possibly because all of the options sounded… To be frank they all sounded icky to me. I’ve never eaten a terrine or mousseline. I’m just a small town guy from Arizona.
Once I decided to go for it, I’d planned to do an intricate terrine of trotters inlaid with my homemade Canadian bacon (back bacon) and sage leaves. Like I said though, I’m a small town guy and besides the green chili from Hatch, NM just started showing up in the stores. I knew what I really wanted to do. I wanted green chili in my terrine, green chili and pine nuts. Forget the sculpture in gelatin, besides it wasn’t that clear to begin with. I want porky, nutty, green chili embedded goodness it’s what I know.
So here I sit writing about my hopes that it will set in time to slice off a bit for dinner. In the mean time I can describe what I’ve done.
I started off with 2 pounds of trotters readily available at my local grocery. Unfortunately a whole pigs head was out of the question. My closest source for that is some 200 miles away. Besides, I don’t even know if I’m going to like this.
Into the pot I put the pigs feet, a carrot, celery, onion, garlic, along with plenty of sage, thyme, bay leaf, a piece of cinnamon stick, a couple cloves, salt and pepper. I kept feeling I was over doing it with the seasonings, but the book says to be aggressive so I was. I covered it all with water and once it came to a boil, I transferred it to my clay pot to cook slowly all night in the oven. After 10 hours at 200 degrees I did a gel test on a frozen plate. It didn’t fully gel so I cooked it an additional two hours at 350 degrees.
After cooking I separated out the liquid into a container. Additionally I separated out the pork bits from the vegtables which I tossed into the garbage. After cooling over night I removed any fat from the gelatin with a spoon and then shot this video of my spoon bouncing on the surface.
Additionally, I went through the pork bits carefully salvaging the meat, skin, and other tasty bits. Basically I discarded everything that was too hard like bone and too soft like fat. You have to be very thorough since there are some very small bones.
Additionally I removed any bits of skin with hair like that shown below (this was a bit of a disturbing find that I hadn’t expected).
Next I chopped the bits to make them more uniform. These were placed into a medium plastic wrap lined bread pan along with diced green chili and some toasted pine nuts. To this I added some barely liquefied gelatin to just cover the bits. I folded closed the plastic wrap and set it in the refrigerator. Finally I placed another pan of the same size with two cans of tomato sauce inside of it for weight.
Well, I’m happy to say that the terrine set in time. The plastic wrap sprang a leak. The gelatin over topped the pan and solidified on the refrigerator shelf around it (thank goodness for glass shelves that clean easily). That said it set with time to spare.
As I removed the plastic wrap from the terrine, I could smell a wonderful bouquet of pine nuts and green chili. The look of what had been the bottom of the terrine was better than I’d hoped for. The first slice removed my fears that the pine nuts would just rip chunks of the terrine apart as I cut through it. The first taste with its varying of textures between the meaty bits, nuts, and gelatin alleviated all of my misgivings about what the end result would be like. The play of green chili, pine nuts, pork, and the earthy flavors of sage and thyme with a little something extra from the other seasonings all played well together well in my mouth.
I am as of this moment a convert. Not only do I like it, but I think I’d make it again. As for the Canadian bacon that I’d originally intended, I wish I’d included it. I think the smokiness and color would have only added good things to the end product.
I think for my next taste, I’d like to make a sandwich with it and some chipotle seasoned mayo. Although I have to say it’s pretty darn good just as it is.