Humph is coming to an end. We have just one chump chop, and a half shoulder remaining. I will be placing an order for Humph number two very soon. The Middle White pig is a wonderful breed, and the butchery from Richard Vaughan’s Huntsham farm was second to none.
From our half a Middle White, there were pan-fried chops, a roast ham, a french-trimmed rack on Christmas day, and many others. But perhaps the most thrilling was the charcuterie. Humph provided us with a baker’s dozen of splendid salami from the hand (fewer by the time I took a photo)…
…and closer in…
… and then there was nearly a kilo of bacon from half the belly (cure is from Michael Ruhlman’s Twenty, left uncooked)
… and finally I made terrine.
And what a terrine it was! Certifiably the tastiest terrine that has ever crossed my path.
Terrine is a pretty simple dish. In mine, I enjoy heavy seasoning, and a variation in texture. It’s good to include some or all of the following: ground meat to form the backbone of the terrine; some larger cubes for texture; some liver for depth and to help bind it; cured meats for additional flavour; and generous seasoning to ensure it remains tasty when cold.
Belly, bacon and liver all came from the same pig. I’m sure that’s something one can’t say often.
On a more serious note, only follow the recipe if you have a really good pig. It was only when I discovered the Middle White, that I truly lived the adage “the fat is where the flavour is”. Going through the steps below is just not worth the effort with something cheap and mass-produced: it will only serve to make you sad. And probably the pig that made the terrine would have been very sad too.
Recipe: Pork-tastic terrine
Makes more terrine than you imagine you might need, but far less than you will want
500g pork belly, coarse mince [roughly a quarter belly, or 600g before being boned and skin removed]
200g lardons or home-cured bacon, cut into cubes
2 shallots, finely diced
A few sprigs of thyme, finely chopped
2 pinches of mace, finely ground
2tsp pepper, finely ground
1/2 nutmeg, grated
2 tsp salt (or to your taste)
Heat oven to 170 C.
Start by sweating the shallots in the butter, and then leave to cool. Keep all the meats in the fridge until needed, so when you mix them together, they retain their structure.
Put the liver in a food processor and pulse until liquidised. Toss with pork mince, and the cubes of bacon. Add the cooled shallots, thyme, mace, pepper, nutmeg and half the salt. Mix well.
It is important to check the seasoning before cooking as your bacon may be saltier – or less salty – than mine. Remove a teaspoon of the mixture, form a little patty, and fry it in a little oil in a small frying for a couple of minutes on each side. Taste. At this stage it should taste a little too salty, as the seasoning becomes less pronounced when the food is cold. Adjust as necessary.
Squash the mixture into an ovenproof dish and smooth the surface. Cover with foil and place in a deep baking tray. Fill the tray with water so it comes to half way up the sides of the dish. Cook for 90 minutes.
When it is ready, the mixture contracts and it will be sitting in the centre of a lake of delicious juices. You can test the temperature of the centre which should be just over 85C. Remove from oven. On no account should you pour away the juices, they provide moisture, and will set as a tasty jelly.
Place a weighted board on the top of the terrine and leave to cool (tupperware and a dumbbell will do the trick). Refrigerate for a few hours. It is entirely possible that the flavours will improve over a few days; we never got to find out. Make it in the morning, and picnic with it in the afternoon.
The bread is a fresh-from-the-oven wholemeal, multigrain and spelt sourdough.