Wild Game and Mushroom Terrine
The richness of game marries perfectly with the woodsy taste of wild mushrooms in this terrine, and the center medallion of venison wrapped in green spinach makes a stunning presentation. The pate has every wonderful woodland taste imaginable, from the game to mushrooms to nuts. The pate can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. The red wine reduction steps can be made a few days prior to making the terrine.
- Lean Game Meat - 4 pounds (some combination of venison, boar, and antelope)
- Venison Backstrap - 1 (about 1 pound) (alt. pork tenderloin)
- Red Wine Reduction
- Dried Morels - 40, halved
- Dry Red Wine - 1/2 bottle
- Carrot - 1, peeled and chopped
- Shallots - 3, peeled and chopped
- Scraps from trimming the meats
- Bay Leaf - 1
- Juniper berries - 6
- Mixed Peppercorns - 1 tablespoon (green, pink, and red)
- Reserved lean game meat - (above)
- Egg - 1
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 2 cups, well chilled
- Salt - 2-1/2 teaspoons
- Ground nutmeg - 1/2 teaspoon
- Paprika - 1/2 teaspoon
- Dried Thyme - 1/2 teaspoon, crushed
- Dried Sage - 1/2 teaspoon, crushed
- Ground white pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Green Peppercorns in Brine - 3 tablespoons, drained and rinsed
- Reserved venison backstrap - (above)
- Coarsely ground black pepper - 1/4 cup
- Clarified Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Fatty Bacon - 6 slices, at room temperature
- Spinach - 1 pound, stemmed and blanched (or one 10-ounce box frozen leaf spinach, defrosted), with excess water pressed and blotted out
- Red Wine Reduction - 1/2 cup, above
- Walnuts - 1/2 cup, chopped
- Pecans - 1/2 cup, chopped
- Fresh Oyster Mushrooms - 1-1/2 cups (alt. shiitakes)
- Reserved Morels - 1/2 cup
- Radicchio leave
- Endive spears
- Julienne of onions and carrots
- Slices of star fruit
Trim the fat and silver skin from the meat and backstrap or tenderloin. Chill the meat thoroughly. Wrap the trimmings separately and chill until ready to use.
To prepare the reduction: Soak the morels in boiling water to cover for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, drain, wash them under running water to remove any remaining grit, and set them aside. Pour the soaking liquid through a strainer lined with two layers of damp cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter into a saucepan. Start with 3/4 cup of red wine and the remaining reduction ingredients; bring to a boil in a large pan over medium heat. Simmer uncovered, adding the remaining red wine in stages, and simmer until only 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Strain, then set aside.
To make the pate: Grind the trimmed meats through the coarse setting of a food grinder. Grind it a second time if the meat is not tender. Place the meat in a food processor and pulse until blended. Add the egg, then slowly add the cream with the machine running, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Process to a smooth paste, then add the salt, nutmeg, paprika, thyme, sage, and white pepper. Do this in batches if necessary, dividing the egg, cream, and other ingredients. Process again, then scrape into a mixing bowl, stir in the green peppercorns, and set aside.
Coat the venison backstrap (or tenderloin) with pepper and heat the butter in a saute pan or skillet over high heat. When the butter is hot, sear the pepper-coated meat on all sides to brown. Remove from the pan.
Lay the slices of bacon side by side on a work surface and place the blanched spinach on bacon. Lay the backstrap on the spinach and roll the bacon around the backstrap, trimming any excess bacon (which can be added to the red wine reduction if it is cooking at this time). Place the roll in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Stir the 1/4 cup red wine reduction into the meat and cream mixture. Butter the bottom and sides of a 12-by-6-1/2-by-4-inch loaf pan or a terrine pan and place some of the pate in the bottom. Sprinkle with some of the walnuts and pecans and some of the chopped oyster mushrooms and morels reserved from making the red wine reduction, then add more pate. Place the bacon-rolled backstrap in the center and continue to layer the meat mixture, mushrooms, and nuts. Smooth the top and tap on the counter to remove air pockets.
Soak 3 or 4 pieces of apple or cherry wood in water for 30 minutes. Light a fire in a charcoal smoker. When the fire is hot, push it to one side and add the wood pieces over the fire. Put the cooking grate in place. Place the terrine in a larger pan with hot water half-way up the sides and place on the cooking grate opposite the fire. Cover, leaving the cover holes open, and cook until the center registers 125 F on a meat thermometer. Remove from the smoker, pour off any liquid that has accumulated, and refrigerate until well chilled. Wrap with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. The terrine may also be baked in a 350 F oven.
To serve: Slice the terrine. Scatter a few leaves of radicchio and endive over the center of each serving plate. Lean a terrine slice against the leaves. Garnish the plates with onion-carrot julienne and slices of star fruit.