One of the best, and oldest uses charcuterie can provide is how it helps use up odds and ends in the kitchen, especially meat scraps. Sometimes I have a little of something left from one project, or two, and I’ll vacuum seal some of the meat away in a larger container made from scraps, just so I can have things “in the hopper” whenever I want to get my charcuterie on, say, if I have to bring something to a party, or if I’m making a tray of appetizers and want a good centerpiece for a crowd.
This one I made just for fun at a winter gathering. I wanted to show off a couple special ingredients, so I started with a base of turkey, venison bacon, and lobster mushrooms, flavored with wild caraway. It’s great, and has a lot of good flavor building techniques built into it you can borrow for impromptu terrines of your own, like the browning of the meat before grinding, and the browning of the dried, rehydrated lobster mushrooms.
Browning dried lobster mushrooms to build flavor
Lobster mushrooms have the best flavor dried, but to get there they need to getcaramelized, toasted somehow, either while dehydrating at a high temp, or after rehydrating. Since mushrooms can be dirty, I rehydrate the lobsters, squeeze them dry, then fry them in oil on low heat until crisp, and rich smelling, from there you chop the mushrooms up and add them to the terrine mix, like little mushroom jerky nuggets.
This is a great example of me just slapping things together, and writing down the process. The instructions are long, but you’ll be able to pick out good technique nuggets just by giving it a read.
This is a well seasoned terrine with lots going on. Serve with pickles and acidic things to help cut the richness, or rustic bread spread with soft salted butter and fresh greens for a lazy sandwich. It’s best by itself though, at least at first, alone, or with a hunk of bread.
Also, you can sub all kinds of meat in here. When I have liver, it will go in, but it could just as easily all be made of pork shoulder.
Turkey Terrine with Venison Bacon, Lobster Mushrooms and Wild Caraway
For the turkey and venison terrine
- 1 lb turkey livers cleaned and trimmed (after trimming they’ll weigh less
- 5 lb turkey thighs with skin
- .5 lbs fatty coarse-ground pork or grind diced pork shoulder or belly
- 3 tablespoons wild caraway vodka or aquavit (optional)
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper or about 12 twists of the mill
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon pink salt instacure no1 / sodium nitrite, optional
- 4 oz venison bacon cut into medium dice (or substitute regular, slab bacon)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lightly toasted wild caraway seeds left whole
- 1.6 % salt or about 120 grams plus a good pinch to season the mushrooms
- Caul fat as needed for lining the terrine (Optional, bacon is a great substitute, or a pastry crust, or just skip it)
For the lobster mushrooms
- 70 grams dried lobster mushrooms roughly 1.5 cups dried mushroom slices
- ¼ cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
- Chill the meat grinder in the freezer.
- Cover the lobster mushrooms with water, then set a timer for 15 minutes or so. Jostle the mushrooms here and there to loosen any grit. After fifteen minutes, give the mushrooms another good swish, then remove and discard the soaking water.
- Meanwhile, trim the turkey livers of the tissue that connects them and discard. Dice ¼ cup’s worth of the turkey livers and reserve to garnish the terrine (optional) coarsely chop the rest of the livers and reserve.
- Remove the bones and any firm cartilage from the turkey thighs, then cut into 1 inch pieces.
- While cutting the turkey skin, be extra careful not to leave long pieces of skin in your mix, which can slow down a lot of home grinders. Combine the turkey skin, and turkey liver with the pork.
- In a spice grinder, grind the salt, pepper, pink salt, and the bay leaves until very fine, then mix with the turkey-pork mixture and stir in the wild caraway seeds. Sprinkle in the aquavit, stir to combine, then grind the mixture through the large die of a meat grinder. Chill the ground meat mixture.
- Rough-chop the lobster mushrooms, then cook with 3 tablespoon of the lard on medium-low until lightly browned, then transfer to a bowl, and mix with the parsley. Cool the mushrooms, then mix into the meat mixture. Cook a small amount of the terrine to test the seasoning and adjust as needed. It should be a little on the salty side, since it will be served in small slices, cool.
- Line a 3lb terrine mold with parchment, then line with the caul fat or bacon, leaving enough hanging over the sides to wrap the whole thing up. Pack in the meat and completely cover with the caul fat laying around the sides. You want a nice, tight little package, I also like to slam it down on a firm counter to make sure there aren't air pockets. From here, it’s great to let the meat sit overnight in the fridge to let the flavors marry, but you don’t have to.
- Before you want to serve the terrine, take the terrine out from the fridge and allow to sit at room temp for a bit. Preheat the oven to 275 and place the terrine in the oven, with a deep, wide pan filled with water underneath it to create steam. Cook the terrine for 45 minutes, checking on it at the 30 minute mark-you don’t want to over-cook it. Cook until a temperature probe reaches 155F when poked dead in the center, then remove the terrine from the oven, remove the lid, and put some parchment over the top and let it cool to room temperature. Chill so it can set before serving, preferably overnight to mellow the flavors.