My freezer has been filling up with odd things like chicken feet, pig trotters, wild boar belly, and venison liver. I can’t explain the first two, but the rest is leftover from my Broken Arrow Ranch order last November when I made wild game sausages. This venison liver terrine was an attempt to use up my weird stockpile. I learned my lesson after the lamb liver terrine disaster. Combining straight up liver with other strong flavors is too overwhelming, so there’s venison meat and pork belly in this recipe as well.
Venison Liver Terrine with Vanilla
- 8 ounces venison shoulder, cubed
- 8 ounces pork belly, cubed
- 1 ounce salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp pink salt (sodium nitrate)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 a vanilla bean, split in half
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup brandy
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces venison liver
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup toasted pistachios
1. Place the cubed pork belly and venison shoulder in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salts and spices and place in the fridge overnight.
2. Put the golden raisins in a bowl. Use a knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add the seeds and pod to the bowl. Cover with the brandy and let the raisins plump overnight.
3. The next day, melt the butter in the pan over medium low. Raise the heat to medium high and sear the cubes of liver so they are browned on the outside but still slightly raw in the middle. This should take less than five minutes. Remove the liver from the pan and set aside.
4. Now add the sliced shallots to the pan and sautee them for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.
5. Drain the vanilla scented brandy from the raisins and reserve the liquid. Deglaze the pan with the vanilla-scented brandy, scraping up the browned bits. Simmer until the brandy has reduced to a paste. Remove the shallots, garlic, and brandy mix from the pan and set aside.
6. Combine the marinated pork belly and venison with the seared liver. Grind the meat through the small die of a meat grinder.
7. Transfer the meat to a food processor. While the meat is grinding to a paste, add the egg whites and the shallot and garlic mixture. Grind until everything is evenly incorporated.
8. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and incorporate the heavy cream. Fold in the pistachios and raisins, alternating them so that they are scattered evenly throughout the terrine.
9. Pour the mixture into a terrine or loaf pan lined with parchment and bake at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes until the center registers 170 degrees with a meat thermometer.
This terrine is slightly unexpected because I flavored it with spices like vanilla bean and cinnamon that are more commonly found in sweet dishes. They tone down the gaminess a bit. It’s also studded with golden raisins and pistachios, but it might be even better with dried cherries.