Chicken terrine


Cuisine: French

Course: Starter


Cooking time: 1 hour

I’m not sure what types of parties people have at home nowadays, but I doubt they are as planned or fancy as once upon a time. But what still remains with us all is a longing to get together, break bread and sit around a table to share everything from tears, laughter and fond memories to fights, fixes and plans for the future.

The terrine is tasty, even though I’m not a huge fan of terrines – except ham hock ones – nor a huge fan of liver. But I get their appeal and this really wasn’t too hard to make, despite a long list of ingredients. Quail are available to buy, boned, from most butchers, so they are an easy addition to a terrine to give good texture and balanced flavour. This really does need a good strong chutney to go with it, but this is definitely one thing that can be easily bought, rather than made, and makes a great accompaniment.


I made this two days in advance and used a 10cm x 30cm terrine dish. A loaf tin will also do if you’re stuck.


150g chicken livers

150ml milk

200g sliced Prosciutto or similar

100g butter

6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp allspice

3 tbsp brandy or sherry

Big bunch parsley and coriander

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 boned quail, cut into big chunks

500g boned chicken thighs with the skin on, chopped

4 chicken breasts, skinned and chopped

Few sprigs thyme

Rind of 1 lemon

175g shelled pistachio nuts

200g pork mince

1 egg

1 tbsp green peppercorns

50g breadcrumbs


Preheat an oven to 180 degrees/gas 4. Soak the chicken livers in the milk for 15 minutes, then drain and discard the milk. Line the terrine dish or loaf tin with the prosciutto so that the ends hang over enough to be able to cover the top of the terrine.

Melt half the butter and sauté the garlic and onion. Add the chicken livers and spices and cook on a high heat for a few minutes, then add the brandy and let it evaporate. When the mix is quite dry, pour out into a dish, add the herbs and set aside.

In the same frying pan, heat the other half of the butter and olive oil and sear the quail on high heat to get good colour on them. Season really well. Remove the quail and add to the chicken livers.

Keeping the heat high, fry the chicken thighs, allowing the fat on the skin to render down and colour well. Season really well and if there’s enough room, cook the chicken breast also, or else do another batch of butter with some oil and fry the rest of the chicken. A little colour would be great. Season well and put in the bowl with all the other ingredients. It’s important to season at each step, as you can’t taste this mixture as it has raw pork in it.

Mix really well so everything is well distributed and then spoon the mix into the terrine dish and pat down, then fold the prosciutto over so that it’s all sealed in. Top with a rectangular piece of parchment paper and some tin foil. Put the dish into a roasting tray and put this in the oven. Then boil your kettle and fill the roasting tin with water (about half way up the terrine dish) so that you create a water bath. Cook for about an hour. The juices should run clear but it might be easier to use a thermometer and make sure it’s at 75 degrees Celsius. When it’s cooked, remove from the water bath and leave it to rest a while.

Wrap a rectangular piece of cardboard in parchment to act as a lid, and when the terrine has settled and the juices have settled back to where they should end up, cover the terrine with a layer of cling film, then put on the cardboard lid and top with some weights or tinned tomatoes or similar, to press and compress the terrine. You may find that without proper weights this is a little awkward, but don’t get too hung up on it. The main thing is to cool it down to room temperature and make sure it has genuinely cooled down before putting it in the fridge for a day to chill.

To serve, remove the layer of cling film and lid and, using a knife, gently slide down the sides, being careful not to tear the prosciutto. Pull away the sides as you would with a cake.

Alternatively, you can dunk the terrine dish into some hot water and the heat against the outsides of the terrine dish will loosen it up inside. Invert on to a board and serve thick slices with bread or toast and strong chutney.

DOMINI RECOMMENDS: Stock up on bags of frozen prawns, frozen peas and some good chutney or compotes to have with cheese or terrines. And don’t forget that a quick dip can be made from just a few tablespoons of Greek yoghurt mixed with a good tablespoon of tomato chutney – Ballymaloe works well.

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