19 November 2012

Terrine de canard : preparing the duck

What is a terrine? Well, it's a cooking dish — a baking dish, or what we might call a casserole dish in the U.S. A terrine is called that because it is usually made of earthenware — and terre means earth. By the rhetorical figure of speech called metonymy, a terrine is also the food that you cook in such a dish. Terrines (the contents, not the container) are most often meat, fish, or vegetable pâtés.

Before deciding to make a terrine de canard, my idea was just to make a very simple kind of pâté pâté de campagne, for example, which is the most ordinary kind of potted French meat, made with just pork and liver. It's a kind of meatloaf, in face. Soon, though,my research turned up a recipe for terrine de canard forestière on a French web site. Coincidentally, I noticed that the supermarket had a special on the ducklings or young ducks called canettes. It all came together.

The first step was to carve the duck up, because the recipe called for just the breast meat, the filets. It's a lot less expensive (per kilo) to buy a whole duck than just the filets — and cutting up a duck is just like cutting up a chicken. I figured I could cook the wings and leg/thigh pieces separately, maybe as confit, and then make a good broth or stock out of the rest of the carcass.


The next step is to take the filets off the carcass. All you need is a sharp knife. Cut an incision along one side of the breast bone. Cut against the bone to remove the breast filet. If there's some meat left on the bones, scrape it off and add it to the pâté mixture, which includes ground pork and ground turkey (or veal), along with some ground or chopped raw duck, turkey, or chicken liver.

The duck breasts don't just get ground up with the rest of the meat. Instead, one of them gets cut into small dice and added to the meat mixture. The other one gets cut into strips that go into the middle of the terrine, between two layers of pâté mixture.


Before dicing and slicing the breast meat, you need to remove the skin, which you can use to line the baking dish (terrine) that the meat mixture will cook in and keep the pâté from sticking to the dish. Put the breast filet skin-side down on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to scrape the lean meat off the skin. I hope that's clear. It works.

What you end up with is two nice boneless and skinless duck breasts. They will give the pâté its taste, and the strips and chunks of whole duck meat will make it fancier than just plain pâté or meatloaf. More about the meat mixture tomorrow.




Here's the French recipe I am adapting to make a Terrine de canard forestière. By the way, as applied to French food, (à la) forestière means the dish (terrine, pâté, pizza, etc.) has mushrooms in it  — from the forest. My major adaptation of the recipe so far is to substitute ground turkey meat for ground veal.

Terrine de canard forestière

2 filets de canard (400 g)
2 foies de canard (ou 3 de poulet ou de lapin)
30 gr de cèpes secs
10 cl de vin blanc
300 g de veau haché chair de dinde hachée
300 g de porc maigre haché
4 tranches fines de lard gras
2 échalotes épluchées
10 g de fécule
3 œufs entiers
1 c. à café de quatre-épices
sel et poivre du moulin
fleur de thym et laurier
20 g de pistaches décortiquées

La veille : Retirez (et gardez) la peau des filets de canard. Coupez un des filets en petits carrés et l'autre en lanières d'un centimètre d'épaisseur. Assaisonnez et réservez le tout au frais.

Mettez les cèpes à mariner dans le vin blanc. Déveinez les foies et hachez-les.

Mettez le veau et le porc dans un grand saladier. Ajoutez les foies, le quatre-épices, le sel, le poivre, la fécule, les oeufs, et une pincée de fleur de thym. Ajoutez alors le filet de canard coupé en dés et les pistaches. Bien mélangez le tout Couvrez et laissez toute une nuit au frigo.

Le lendemain : Allumez le four a 180°C. A la main égouttez les cèpes et passez le vin blanc dans une étamine (ou un filtre a café). Coupez les cèpes en tout petits carrés (mirepoix) et incorporez-les à la farce.

Dans une terrine en porcelaine ou en terre cuite installez au fond vos bandelettes de lard dans la largeur de manière à ce qu'elles arrivent jusqu'en haut de la terrine, puis remplissez la terrine à moitié de farce.

Allongez sur la longueur les lanières de canard et puis ajoutez le reste de farce. S'ils dépassent, repliez sur le dessus les suppléments de longueur de lard. (Si vous êtes plus riche vous pouvez aussi mettre au centre, avec les lanières de filet de canard, un beau lobe de foie gras sans avoir à modifier autrement la recette.)

Sur le dessus de votre pâté mettez 2 échalotes coupées en 2 dans la longueur et une feuille de laurier. Ajoutez le vin blanc passé. Couvrez et faire cuire au four au bain marie 2 h 15.

Sortez alors la terrine de canard. Retirez le couvercle et mettez-la "sous presse" (un morceau de gros carton ou une planchette) avec un poids d'1 kg.

Lorsque la terrine a refroidi, mettez-la au froid – vous ne retirerez le poids que le lendemain. Veillez à ce qu'elle reste au moins 3 jours au frigo afin que tous les parfums se fondent ensemble.

Servir cette terrine de canard forestière avec une confiture d'oignons et de grandes tranches de pain grillé (style Poilâne), accompagné d’un vin blanc demi-sec ou moelleux.

This post is Part 1 of the Terrine de canard series. Here are links to Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

9 comments:

  1. "et de grandes tranches de pain grillé"... ie: Toast...
    This recipe sounds magnifique, Ken.
    Also, I'd never thought of using skin to line a terrine... streaky bacon or the thin-cut, smoked Austrian ham [cru] is normally my choice [both available from Lidl over here]... failing that I line the dish with foil. From now on... caveat: that I remember... I will freeze skin.

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  2. Hi Tim, I had some thin-sliced poitrine fumée (smoky streaky bacon) but I didn't want the smoky flavor, so I used the skin plus... more tomorrow.

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  3. Oooh! Quite an undertaking, but certainly a way to make your almost-all-day-inside days feel very worthwhile. I can't wait to see more :)

    Judy

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  4. sounds exhausting but delicious

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  5. I have a feeling that this dish is going to be worth all the effort. I like how you're able to use all of the duck one way or the other.

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  6. It all sounds wonderful. Waiting eagerly for tomorrow's post.

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  7. Marvelous post!!! Love you are using the whole duck in many ways, and the rendered duck fat may deserve a whole post of its own (big request from me!!)

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  8. You should have made a video.

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  9. Kassandra, I've done many posts over the years about duck, duck fat, confit de canard, cassoulet, etc. Try this link, and this one to see some of them.

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