Here is a light, cool terrine for a Summer lunch. Chicken surrounds a central layer of vegetables and asparagus mousse.
Every Summer, there are several events around the area that are fun to attend, but somewhat lacking on the food side. If you're not that thrilled with the fried dough and sausage subs, packing a little picnic lunch makes a lot of sense. This terrine will make your day. Take along a baguette and a little salad, and you're good to go.
Terrine mold: I have a couple of French pottery terrine molds with tapered sides, that I like to use. They are 10" long, tapering to 8" at the base, and 5" wide, tapering to 3" at the base. I make the terrine in one mold, then press it in the refrigerator overnight by placing the other mold on top. They are marked 2.2L on the bottom, for what it's worth.
Water bath: For the terrine mold that I use, a stainless steel fish poacher works perfectly. There is also a lifter, so it's easy to remove the finished terrine. You can also invest in a bain marie, or use any lidded pan large enough to contain your terrine mold, and still fit in the oven. Water level in any of them should be 2/3 up the side of the mold.
Cold Terrine of Chicken, Asparagus, Eggplant and Peppers
One very large boneless, skinless chicken breast, both halves, around 1.5 lb.1/2 cup light cream
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
pinch of ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp. crumbled tarragon (optional)
pinch ground marjoram
1/3 cup coarsely chopped Vidalia onion
1 small eggplant, 2" diameter
1/3 lb asparagus, slender stalks
1 Dutch red bell pepper (thick-fleshed type)
Several snap peas
5 slender asparagus stalks, trimmed and cooked
1/2 cup light cream
1 egg + 1 additional egg white
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of white pepper
- Line a 10-inch terrine mold (see above) with a wide sheet of plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 300F.
- Make chicken mixture:
Cut the chicken into 1" cubes.
In a food processor bowl with blade fitted, process chicken until smooth.
Add cream and egg. Process 10 seconds.
Add salt and spices. Process another 10 seconds.
Remove to another bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Arrange vegetables on a tray, ready to assemble the terrine:
1/3 cup coarsely chopped Vidalia onion
1 small eggplant, 2" diameter: Remove ends of eggplant. With a vegetable peeler, remove 4 strips of peel, lengthwise, leaving sections of peel in between. This leaves enough peel to be decorative. Slice the eggplant into 1/3"-thick slices.
1/3 lb asparagus, slender stalks: snap off tough portion at the bottom of each stalk.
1 Dutch red bell pepper (thick-fleshed type): Remove the stem end and seeds. Slice vertically into 1/3"-thick slices. Place these in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
Several snap peas: remove end and string
- Make asparagus mousse:
Trim and cook the 5 asparagus spears. Chop into 1/2" pieces.
Place these in clean food processor bowl. Process until as finely chopped as possible.
Add cream, egg and egg white. Process until very well blended, about 1 minute.
Add salt and white pepper. This is now ready to use.
- Assembling the terrine:
In plastic-wrap-lined terrine mold, lay in:
1/2 of the chicken mixture. Spread smoothly and evenly in bottom of mold.
The onions, evenly sprinkled on top.
The eggplant slices, evenly laid on top of the onions (should cover the entire surface)
The asparagus spears, laid in one layer lengthwise in the mold
The red bell pepper slices, laid in one layer lengthwise in the mold
The other half of the chicken mixture, gently placed on top of the vegetables and smoothed with a spatula.
- The terrine should still have at least 1/2" of room at the top.
With a sharp knife, make 3 small holes in the chicken layer, and carefully pour the asparagus mousse through, so it can fill in between the vegetables.
Pinch the holes closed.
Tap the terrine on the counter (with a towel on top to soften the blow) several times, to settle the mixture. Don't break the mold!
Place a row of snap peas on top, for decoration.
- Close the plastic wrap around the terrine.
Place fish poacher or other covered vessel on the stovetop, with enough water to come 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up the sides of the mold. Heat the water to a strong simmer, then place the mold in the water.
Place the lid on the poacher and place in 300F oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Test for doneness.
- Remove from oven. There will be transparent green liquid in the mold, do not remove it.
- Place the mold in the refrigerator overnight, with a light weight on top to gently press it as it cools (I use another identical mold, with a smaller loaf pan inside). Some of the liquid will re-absorb into the terrine.
- The next day, unmold and remove plastic wrap. The terrine will now have a flat top:
- Remove and invert on cutting board. Trim off any excess mousse, to reveal vegetable pattern on sides. Take a slice off the end, to see the pattern within! In particular, note the interesting results with the eggplant layer.
- Place on platter to serve, or pack for the picnic! Enjoy!
The News: Watching Heidi grow. At 13 weeks, she is all legs and ears now, towering over the corgis. The camera (or the photographer) can't quite keep up with the action.