Bat Out Of Hell
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)
1kg of pork belly, rind cut off
400gms chicken livers
20 rashers of streaky bacon
2 medium leeks
3 cloves garlic
2 tsps of paštikové koření (pâté spice)
salt and pepper
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.