I winged it making a lamb liver terrine for Charcutepalooza. I read lots of warnings about keeping the ingredients cold while making it. This prevented the emulsion from breaking, resulting in a smooth and luscious texture. The terrine’s shape became nice and firm while chilling overnight in the fridge, and there was no hint of graininess. I didn’t have one of those cute terrine pans, but the bread loaf pan worked in a pinch.
How did it taste? Good, but it could have been better. You see, I adore mustard, and I got a little carried away with it. In hindsight, I should have added something to temper the gaminess of the lamb liver instead of accentuating it. The acidic bite of the mustard mixed with the lanolin-like funkiness of the lamb liver made it taste reminiscent of Roquefort. Sounds scary, but it actually makes sense since Roquefort is made from sheep’s milk. Like a strong blue cheese, it is extremely rich, and you can only eat a little at a time.
So now I have mass quantities of rich lamb liver terrine, and it’s not exactly what I want to eat when its 110 degrees out. I sliced it into manageable portions, wrapped them in plastic wrap, and stored them in the freezer for safe keeping until cooler months. Anyone want some?
Liver is a polarizing food. Although it’s the main ingredient in delicacies like foie gras, many people cringe at the thought it. I’m one of those people. Or at least I have those tendencies. I didn’t grow up eating it, not that I’m complaining. My mother taught me liver was bad for you because it’s the organ that filters out toxins, and I can’t really get past that. I squealed when I took the slimy lamb’s liver out of the package. It smelled weird, and it looked like a human liver!
I couldn’t find a recipe that appealed to me, so I made it up as I went along. I based it on this method, substituting the flavors featured in this Irish recipe from Saveur.
Lamb Liver Terrine with Mustard and Whiskey
- 1 lb. lamb’s liver, rinsed, membranes removed, and sliced into cubes
- 2 tbsp. bacon fat
- 1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
- 4 tbsp. whiskey
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley
- 1 green onion, green part only
- 4 tbsp. butter, softened
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt 2 tablespoons bacon fat in a skillet. Add shallots and cook over medium heat until golden.
2. Add liver cubes and a few pinches of salt to the skillet and cook for 5-10 minutes until cooked but still slightly pink in the middle. Feel free to slice open a few of the cubes to check the color. Scrape the liver and shallots into a bowl and lower into a prepared ice bath. Let the liver cool until barely warm to the touch.
3. Deglaze skillet with 2 tablespoons of the whiskey and scrape up all the brown bits. Add them to the bowl where the liver and shallots are cooling.
4. In the bowl of a food processor, combine mustard, green onion, parsley, 2 tablespoons whiskey, and pulse until well ground. Add the liver and mustard mixture to the food processor and purée for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the heavy cream in a thin stream.
5. Scoop the liver mixture into a bowl. Slowly whisk in the softened butter and add salt and pepper to taste. Spread it into a chilled terrine or loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. Refrigerate over night until set.
I finished this terrine in under an hour, so I really encourage everyone to give it a try. Tomorrow I’ll see if I achieved exactly the texture and flavor I wanted.