No matter how you say it. Now matter how much you love it. It just does not sound that good, does it?
Itâ€™s such an American staple though. Indeed, it is an American food of iconic proportions. Well worthy of the name comfort food, in my opinion.
But meatloaf? Really? Could there be a less glamorous name? Who named it any way? Ethel Mertz?
Now the French understand a good meatloaf too. But, letâ€™s face it— Mousse de Foies de Volaille, PÃ¢tÃ© Maison, Torchon, Rillettes, Terrine de Campagne. These are all just fancy French ways to say meatloaf.
Well, I have to admit. I do like fancy.
But I also have to admit to limited culinary skills. So I am choosing to make the most rustic of the French meatloaves, Terrine de Campagne. Which loosely translated means: countrified meatloaf.
If you travel in France you will find that every restaurant makes their own version of France’s classic comfort food. And when you order a PÃ¢tÃ© Maison it will most typically fall into this rustic category. It will be served with something pickly like olives or cornichons. It will come with a hunk of crusty bread and very likely grainy mustard. You might even get something sweet like apples or (to die for) pickled cherries– served alongside.
If you have a taste for this tasty French classic, please take care and speak slowly when you ask the waiter for pÃ¢tÃ©. Because if you mispronounce the name you are likely to get a plate of spaghetti and a few snickers from the other diners!
My version of the classic Terrine de Campagne would be considered most basic I am sure. But it is easy to make and very delicious!
It consists of some good lean pork loin, chicken livers and bacon. I am wrapping mine in bacon too as is customary in France. I am also adding chopped bacon to the interior mix to approximate the pork belly that I could not find at the grocers. I donâ€™t think it will suffer too much from my short cut.
The only spices I am using are black and pink peppercorns. Juniper berries and nutmeg is another good combination of flavors in a classic pork terrine.
To Start: Put the pork loin cubes, chicken livers and roughly chopped bacon into the bowl of your food processor equipped with the blade attachment.
Pulse the mixture 12 or 15 times, scraping the sides down 2 or 3 times during the process. Itâ€™s a lot of lid on, lid off, lid on, lid off action. But itâ€™s the only tedious part of the recipe.
You are looking for a very varied texture. Do not over process.
Or, if you are an authentic Madame de Campagne, you can get a similar texture using nothing but the deft maneuvering of a good chefs knife. But again I say, I think the food-processor does a very nice job.
Once you are happy with the texture move the meat mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the salt, pink and black pepper and the brandy. Stir to incorporate. Next add 2 lightly beaten eggs and the shallots. Mix these in quite well.
Choose your terrine mold carefully. Most any shape will do. I am using a fancy-pants French terrine mold. It holds three cups. The terrine recipe I give here is based on this size mold. You may have to adjust your measurements to accommodate your mold.
But Iâ€™ll say it again, use any oven-safe dish you like in any shape. Even a bowl.
I laid a single file line of bay leaves along the bottom of my terrine. These are mostly for flavor, but they can be a pretty decoration as well. Either way, they are optional. Line the terrine with strips of bacon. Overlapping each other slightly as you go. How many depends on your mold. Mine took 13 slices. Leave enough bacon hanging over both sides to cover the top. Line the entire length of the mold. But the two ends should be left open with out a bacon covering.
If your mold has a lid put that on and cover the terrine. If not, cut a piece of parchment to size and wrap the whole terrine all the way around in aluminum foil. Let the flavors come together in the refrigerator at least 6 hours. Overnight is better.
When you are ready to cook the terrine preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the covered terrine in a large baking dish and pour water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the terrine. This is called a bain-marie. It helps achieve a very even, consistent heat.
Bake this for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pÃ¢tÃ© starts to pull away from the sides of the mold.
Lift the terrine out of the water and set it aside to cool completely while still covered.
Once it is cool, drain off any extra liquid in the terrine mold. You may need to run a knife along the edges of the mold to be assured that it is not sticking.
Invert the mold onto a serving platter. Use a very sharp serrated knife to cut the pÃ¢tÃ© into slices. Serve with crusty bread and any combination of traditional accompaniments.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD
This is my entry in Chef E’s Monday’s Mouthful.