Rabbit and Herb Terrine

We adapted this recipe from Chez la Vieille "Adrienne," a bistro in Paris. Look for saltpeter at your local pharmacy.

Rabbit and Herb Terrine
We adapted this recipe from Chez la Vieille "Adrienne," a bistro in Paris.
Yield: makes 20 Slices

Ingredients

  • 2 3-lb. whole rabbits
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 branch fresh thyme
  • 12 oz. cold fresh fatback, sliced into thin sheets
  • ¾ lb. cold fresh pork belly, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 juniper berry, ground
  • ¼ tsp. dried savory
  • ¼ tsp. saltpeter
  • Pinch sugar

Instructions

  1. Remove meat from rabbit, keeping loins intact. Set meat (including livers) and bones aside separately, and put loins, white wine, and shallots in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, pour 6 cups water in a medium pot, add reserved bones, onions, 1 of the bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for about 2½ hours. Strain, discard solids, then return stock to pot, increase heat to high, and boil until reduced to about ½ cup. Remove stock from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Finely chop reserved meat and livers and transfer to a large bowl. Line bottom and sides of a 4–5-cup terrine with fatback, draping it over sides (set aside enough to cover the top once the terrine is filled), and cut the rest into little cubes. Add fatback cubes to the meat along with the pork belly, eggs, juniper, savory, saltpeter, sugar, and reserved stock, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix ingredients together.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Drain and discard marinade from rabbit loins. Spoon one-third of the rabbit mixture evenly into the prepared terrine. Lay half the loins lengthwise on top of meat. Repeat layers, ending with meat. Tap the bottom of the terrine 2 or 3 times against a wooden surface to settle its contents. Arrange remaining 5 bay leaves on top of rabbit mixture, fold overhanging pieces of fatback over, and layer remaining fatback slices on top, wrapping mixture completely; then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil. Set terrine in a baking pan, add enough boiling water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the terrine, and bake to an internal temperature of 160°, 1½–2 hours.
  5. Remove from oven, pour off water, then return terrine to baking pan. Remove foil, cover terrine with plastic wrap, then place a piece of heavy cardboard, cut to fit, inside the terrine. Weight with a couple of heavy cans. Refrigerate for 1 to 3 days, then serve sliced.