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Rabbit & pork terrine with peppercorns

  • meat from 3 wild rabbits, 500g brown meat from the back legs and trimmings, 200g from the loins
  • 500g boneless pork belly, cut into chunks
  • 25g butter Butter butt-errButter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
  • 2 garlic cloves, bruised
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped Shallot shal-lotRelated to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…
  • a few thyme sprigs
  • good pinch of ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp green peppercorns in brine, drained
  • 3-4 tbsp brandy Brandy bran-deeBrandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…
  • splash of vegetable oil
  • 16-20 rashers dry-cured streaky unsmoked bacon Bacon bay-konBacon is pork that has been cured one of two ways: dry or wet. It can be bought as both rashers…
  • about 100g/4oz small cornichons, plus extra to serve
  • Ask your butcher to remove the meat from the rabbit, or do it yourself. The leg meat can be as roughly prepped as you like, but keep the loins as neat as you can.
  • Put the leg meat, trimmings and pork belly in a processor, finely chop, then tip into a large bowl. Melt the butter and cook the garlic, shallots and thyme together gently for 8 mins or until the shallots are soft but not coloured. Tip onto the minced meat, add the allspice, peppercorns and 3 tbsp brandy, then mix well. Leave to mingle for 1 hr, or longer if you like, in the fridge.
  • Add the oil to the pan and quickly brown the loins; you don’t need to cook them through. If you fancy, add 1 tbsp brandy to the pan and flambé them to finish. Set aside on a plate and tip any pan juices into the minced mixture.
  • Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Remove the garlic from the mince and season generously. It’s a good idea to fry a small ball of the mixture, let it cool, then taste to check the seasoning. Line a 900g loaf tin with a strip of foil. Stretch each piece of bacon a little with your knife. Arrange the rashers so that the base of the tin is covered with overlapping bacon and the rashers come neatly up the sides in a single layer and overhang generously. Boil a kettleful of water.
  • Press a third of the mince into the tin. Make a lengthways channel along one side, then poke in a line of loin pieces, so that they meet end-to-end. Scatter half the cornichons over the other side. Add the next third of mince and repeat, this time with the loins and cornichons on the opposite sides. Cover with the remaining mince, then bring the bacon over to seal. Wrap tightly in foil and put in a deep roasting tin. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the terrine and bake for 2 hrs or until a skewer comes out hot from the middle of the terrine, and the juices run clear. Top up the water if needed.
  • To press the terrine, sit the loaf tin on a rack in a roasting tin. Tear some cardboard to fit the top of the loaf tin as neatly as you can (we used egg box lids). Add a few layers and sit something extremely heavy on top to press the cardboard and terrine down (we used a cast-iron dish). Cool to room temperature, then chill completely, ideally overnight. Remove the weight and re-wrap the terrine in clean foil or cling film. Ideally, let it mature for 2 days in the fridge before eating. Serve with the pickle salad, below, and remaining cornichons.