Smoked Ham & Sweetbread Terrine

Terrines are a mystery to me. I don’t often eat them and I have never made them before this recipe. I had always assumed they were beyond fiddly, but after closer investigation, discovered they’re no more of a challenge than some of the curries I’ve been making for years. This terrine is very easy to prepare, once you’ve found all the ingredients that is! Sweetbreads are deceptively titled and not the easiest things to track down. The pancreas of an animal is not everyone’s idea of a cracking meal, but I urge you to give them a try – they are sublime! I’ve eaten them a few times and really must say, they’re delicious. This recipe used lamb sweetbreads but you can also use veal. The overall dish is absolutely delicious – savoury, smoky and a lovely texture all-round. We ate it as part of a larger cold buffet but it works well as a substantial starter course too. It’s an impressive little dish to pull out of the bag, but secretly not that hard to make!

250 lamb sweetbreads
100ml white wine vinegar
300g pork shoulder (trimmed of fat and chopped)
200g pork chop (trimmed and chopped)
2 shallots (finely chopped)
3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
4 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)
100g pork speck (chopped)
pinch of cayenne pepper
10 slices smoked bacon
100ml double cream
salt & pepper

Mix the white wine vinegar with 500ml water and add the sweetbreads. Leave for 1 hour then drain and place in a pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over a moderate heat. Leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Drain and cool slightly then remove the skins from the sweetbreads and chop into 1cm slices. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 180ºC

Mix together all the pork with the garlic, shallot, speck, thyme, cayenne and cream. Chop 2 slices of the smoked bacon and add this to the mix. Set aside.

Line a terrine or non-stick loaf tin with overlapping strips of the remaining bacon, leaving plenty of overhang to wrap the terrine with. Place half the meat mix into the terrine and spread evenly. Arrange the sweetbreads in one even layer then top the terrine with the remaining meat mix. Spread flat then bring the bacon from the edges and wrap over the top, leaving no gaps. Put on the lid of the terrine or, cover the loaf tin with 2 layers of aluminium foil. Place the terrine into a larger roasting tin and fill half way up with hot water. Bake in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for one hour. Remove and drain some of the liquid away. Place the foil tightly on top and place two tins on top to weigh it down. Leave overnight in the fridge then remove the tins. The terrine is ready to serve, but will greatly improve in taste with another 24 hours in the fridge.

Slice the terrine into 5cm slices and serve with breads and sweet onion marmalade together with a small leaf salad.

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