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Pigeon, Hare and Ham Terrine
2 Pigeon breasts
2/3 c Dry white wine
1/4 c Cognac
4 Juniper berries
Oil for frying
4 oz Pork fat
1 ts Dried thyme
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb Tissue-thin slices of pork fat or unsmoked streaky (fatty) bacon
8 oz Good quality cooked ham, in 1 inch cubes
Aspic powder or powdered (unflavoured) gelatine, to thicken
Remove all the meat from the hare and place it together with the skinned, boned and lightly beaten pigeon breasts in a bowl. Add the wine, and Cognac and crushed juniper berries and leave to marinate in a cool place overnight or for 48 hours if possible. Turn the meat frequently.
Drain the meat and pat dry. Strain the marinade and reserve the liquid. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Slice the shallots and saute them lightly in oil. Reserve 5-6 large pieces of hare, and the pigeon breasts and cut into strips. Mince (grind) the rest of the hare meat, the shallots and pork fat. Add the thyme, marinade, beaten egg and salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.
Line a terrine dish with the thin pork fat or bacon. Stretching the fat thin can be done easily by holding it down on a board, and running the back of a carving knife across it. Spread the minced (ground) mixture on the bottom of the terrine, then place strips of marinated hare, pigeon and ham on top. Continue adding layers of the minced (ground) mixture and hare, pigeon and cubes of ham. Make sure that the last layer is the minced (ground) mixture. Cover with a layer of fat and the lid.
Cook in a bain marie (a roasting pan with 5 cm/2 inches of water will work just as well) for 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours. When cooked, the terrine will have shrunk from the sides of the dish. Pierce the terrine with a skewer: if there is no trace of blood and the juices run clear the terrine is done. Remove the lid, place a weight on top and cool, preferably overnight, before serving. Sometimes we pour off the juices, thicken them with a little aspic powder or gelatine and pour them back over the terrine before cooling. The flavour of the terrine improves if kept for 3-4 days before serving. Before serving, remove the top layer of fat and decorate with gherkins and a bay leaf.
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