Terrine de Pot au Feu
Sixteen hours on my feet is tiring and has made the two pesky corns on my feet act up. To add insult to injury, our terrine, brimming with effort, sweat and hope, looked like slime on a plate. So there I was, hobbling around with my dodgy extremities trying to make a slime pit of a dish look less offensive after its different layers of vegetables kept falling apart with the gelatine disintegrating and doing a pitiful job of holding it all together.
Beef marmite, asparagus, peas, beans, carrots, meat, celery, leeks and all that goes into preparing them made for a long day. The preparation of the terrine wasn’t too glamourous on its own (boiling veg ain’t so hot) so when it came to the actual fun bit of putting it all together we were fighting each other off. It really was fun, like dressing a baby. Layering jigsaw pieces of celery, peas, beans, carrots and asparagus, getting messy with the meat, packing it all in nice and cosy, and wrapping it in a blanket of leek leaves. Even the Chef was treating it like a delicate little bambino, and we all shared the high levels of anticipation when the time came to bring the terrine out of the mould like some young hopeful parents expecting their first-born.
And just like that, with one slice, I knew it was going to be a day full of disappointing dog’s dinner plates. The jelly hadn’t set (we hadn’t used enough gelatine leaves and nor let the terrines chill long enough), the asparagus was a bit old and tough (so wouldn’t cut through smoothly), the leeks were clumsy. We resorted to putting its bits and pieces back in place with our fingers, getting jelly marks all over the plates.
It’s not even like it was amazingly amazing tasting either. It was okay. I was perhaps the only person who didn’t appreciate its so-called summery light flavours; perhaps my nascent taste buds were holding me back. In any case, I’m not so big on the whole jellied meat thing.
Disheartened, dissatisfied, disconsolated, I dragged myself back in for the lunch service. I was dreading my terrine’s sturdiness as I felt like I hadn’t used much gelatine between each layer. It was a triumphant ‘Hallelujah!’ moment when the terrines sliced like a dream after resting in the fridge overnight. Neat, colourful, pretty and non-vomitty – Beautiful! I wish it could’ve been framed.
Terrine de Pot au Feu
For the Marmite (also the stellar base for a stellar Soupe a l’Oignon)
800g Beef cheeks
1 veal foot
1 Jarret de Boeuf (knee pit)
Garniture Aromatique (300g carrots, 300g onions, 2 celery sticks – all cut in pot au feu ie 7cm batons, 1 bouquet garni)
For the Terrine
10 Bugs bunny carrots (wide top, pointed bottom, slender), trimmed and peeled
300g peas, cuire a l’anglaise till tender
300g green beans, cuire a l’anglaise till tender, trimmed to 5 cm
12 fat white asparagus, peeled, cuire a l’anglaise till tender
500g leeks, cuire a l’anglaise whole till tender
10 gelatine leaves
Bunch of flat leaf parsley
Bunch of chives
Bunch of tarragon
1. In a large pot, roast the meat for 5 minutes and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Skim off scum (ecumer, degraisser).
2. Add in the garniture aromatique and cook on a simmer for 6 hours.
3. Strain away the garniture aromatique (be careful not to break any of the veg). Reserve the stock in a bain marie and take the meat off the bones.
4. Mix finely chopped parsley, chives and tarragon with the meat. Season well.
5. Cook carrots in stock till tender. Reserve.
6. Dissolve the gelatine leaves in a litre of stock.
7. Place an aluminium foil runner along the length of the mould. Layer leak leaves over the two lengths of the terrine mould.
8. Pour some gelatine over the bottom (1cm layer).
9. Cover the bottom with peas in one layer and pour over some gelatine.
10. Layer some leek leaves over the peas and then some meat evenly. Pour over some gelatine.
11. Layer carrots top to toe. Pour over some gelatine.
12. Layer some meat over the carrots followed by some gelatine. Next, the beans and the asparagus with gelatine after each addition.
13. Fold over the ends of the leek leaves. Reserve in the fridge overnight.
14. Place a tray over the terrine mould and flip over. Give it a few taps till the terrine comes loose. Slice into 8 slices. Serve cold.