Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Bat Out Of Hell


DUCK!

Much to my joy we have recently inherited a slightly battered copper terrine tin and a very heavy and battered saucepan that you could possibly use to knock down walls or smash up garden paths with. They once belonged to my wife's Grampa Brezina who came from Czechoslovakia and was by all accounts, a bit of a gourmet. Although he never trained as a chef , apparently Grampa B was a fairly accomplished cook as he had spent most of his life in the hospitality trade and once had his very own hotel back home in Moro Ostrava called Hotel Olda, which was short for his first name, Oldrich. Which is also one of my son's middle names and was specifically chosen to ensure toughening up when he goes to school. But anyway I digress, Grampa B settled in Britain after the war having met Doris, my wife's Nana, a good strong Yorkshire lass and so began the dynasty of the only Brezina clan in England. I've heard that the relationship was a particulary tempestuous one as Grampa B was quite fond of the slivovitz and would often come home at the end of the week worse for wear, with very little money left. As a result Nana would often throw whatever was nearest to hand at him and knowing this, I can only hope that it was the terrine dish and not the sauce pan (but I think we can guess what her favourite weapon of choice was).

So having received these family heirlooms, I decided to immediately put the terrine tin to use and despite his misgivings, create a dish in Grampa B's honor. Specifically a meat terrine with perhaps some kind of Czech influence. And it was with that thought in mind that I came across a stumbling block as I really don't know that much about Czech cuisine. My wife on the other hand thinks that I know everything about eastern european cooking. You see we once went to a book signing to meet Gordon Ramsey and when old potty mouth asked what kind of food do we like cooking, she inexplicably said "Oh my husband cooks Czech" to which he replied with a fierce look in his eyes "Really?! What kind of stuff?". Cue the longest 10 seconds of my life as I murmured and stammered and sweated and finally said "um.....dumplings?". Luckily Mr Ramsey had the good grace to say "wow, that's really.....interesting". I still haven't quite forgiven my wife for that stitch-up.

But going back to the dish, I was able to get hold of a Czechslovak cookbook from my father-in-law and found a traditional recipe called "paštikové koření" which translates as 'pâté spice' and is a mixture that takes equal measures of peppercorns, allspice, ginger, thyme and bay to be ground up together, stored and used when necessary. I thought that'll do so here is my Czech inspired recipe for Grampa B, a terrine based on a hotchpotch of other ones that I have made in the past.

Pork Belly, Chicken Liver and Leek Terrine (with a Czech twist)

Serves 8-10

1kg of pork belly, rind cut off

400gms chicken livers

20 rashers of streaky bacon

2 medium leeks

1 onion

3 cloves garlic

2 tsps of paštikové koření (pâté spice)

salt and pepper

butter

First preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Finely chop the onion and fry until soft and translucent and place in bowl to cool. Slice the leeks and also gently fry until soft and put to one side to cool.

Chop the pork belly into small pieces and blitz in a food processor until you have a coarse mixture and add to the bowl of onion. Finely chop the garlic and also add to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and then mix together by hand until everything is fully incorporated. Divide into 3 portions.

Slice the chicken livers into slivers, place in a bowl and add pâté spice and mix together. Divide into 2 portions

Grease your terrine tin or dish with butter and layer with streaky bacon, overlapping some slices over the side. A good tip is to stretch the bacon with the back of a knife to make it go further.

Spread one portion of the pork at the base as evenly as possible and then evenly the layer chicken livers on top followed by the leeks. Repeat and finish by layering the third portion of pork on top. Fold the bacon strips over and secure the lid on top.

Place in a roasting tin filled with hot water coming halfway up the terrine tin/dish and cook in the oven for 1 and half hours, test with a skewer that it is completely cooked through, it should be piping hot to the touch.

Leave to cool and then place in the fridge overnight, weighing down the lid with some cans of soup. Serve sliced into even portions with crusty bread and pickles.

The end result was very pleasing especially as I've never used chicken liver in a terrine before although I think I could have used some more of the pâté spice, the flavour was just a little bit too subtle. The pork though had plenty of garlicky punch to it and the whole thing held together well, nothing worse than tipping a terrine out onto a serving plate to see it collapse (and that's happened before). So here's to you Grampa B, keep ducking, wherever you may be.


The key ingredients
Wrapped in a piggy blanket
Cooked in Mary's dirty bathwater

I hope Grampa B would enjoy

6 comments:

Helen said...

ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod - it looks amazing! I am definitely making this - if only i had a beautiful battered old tin too.

Dan said...

Wow that looks totally amazing. I've never made a terrine before....I always quite fancy having a go.....another inspirational post!

gastrogeek said...

Oooh this looks so yummy! And your Grampa sounds like an absolute legend.

The Ample Cook said...

What a fantastic thing to make with your newly acquired vessel! It really does look delicious. Terrines are cheap to make and very rewarding.

I think your Grandpa-in-law would be very proud!

Ollie said...

That looks absolutely lovely. And I love that Gordon Ramsay story!

goodshoeday said...

Wow this looks so good. I used to make a mean rabbit, juniper and gin terrine years back. Time to dust off the terrine tin and get back to some really good homemade terrine-y things. Thanks for the inspiration.