Conscious that the end of the Asparagus season is looming I wanted to make the most of it and try and make something a bit different, creating new things is my favourite way to cook. As both the feeling of creativity and the excitement of tasting something you have created is always best first time round, especially when it works!
Having never actually made a terrine before, I decided to stick with classic flavours, chicken, garlic, tarragon, shallot & a squeeze of lemon. Adding some pistachio for crunch and of course, the asparagus.
I apologise in advance to any expert terrine makers out there if I horrify you with my lack of technique, I confess I am no pro but this method worked for me, it was surprisingly easy and turned out looking pretty good which was my biggest suprise as I tend to be a slightly messy cook especially when it involves baking and things don’t always look that neat!
This would make a wonderful summer lunch, we had it with a fennel, sunflower seed & watercress salad, but some pickle’s would also have been a great addition and maybe some homemade mayonnaise.
The lean chicken is a great source of protein and B vitamins crucial for energy & the nervous system. I used organic chicken but good quality chicken from your local butcher would be fine.
The asparagus is high in folic acid, potassium, and Vitamins C & K, and the addition of pistachios not only give a great flavour but also are an excellent source of copper, Manganese & B6.
Tarrogon is not often talked about in health terms and quite frankly its addition to this recipe is purely down to wonderful robust flavour, but as it happens, like most herbs, whilst livening up the dish, it is also a powerful antioxidant, helps lower blood glucose and has positive effects on the cardiovascular system, so quite the handy little pocket rocket.
This would be great for anyone needing some help with blood sugar balancing, muscle building, weight loss or people who like to follow a paleo diet. Or anyone who just loves good food!
If you are not a bacon fan, which I admit is not something which is encouraged to be eat in the masses, when this terrine is cooked you can easily remove the bacon and eat it without. In fact it is quite clever as you will get the wonderful taste and smokiness without actually eating it. Plus it will have helped prevent the chicken from drying out. Some people understandably don’t like to eat bacon due to the added ‘nitrates’ which are used as preservatives and are considered in some reports as carcinogenic. Personally I believe the jury is still out on this and am hesitant to have a strong opinion and I do love a small amount of bacon here and there but it is certainly not something that should be eaton in excess, like everything, moderation is key. I believe this even with ‘healthy’ foods, our bodies are not designed to eat excessive amounts of one thing; variation, moderation & balance are key. Eat a rainbow of colours everyday, fresh, unprocessed, real food. So much tastier too!
- 300g Asparagus
- 14 rashers thin smoked pancetta
- 600g chicken breast skinned
- 2 shallots chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 lemon squeezed
- 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
- 1Tbsp chopped chives
- 75g Pistachio without shell
- 1Tbsp olive oil
- 1Tsp butter/ghee/olive oil
- ½ Tsp black pepper
- ½ Tsp tsp Maldon sea salt
- Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C
- Line a loaf tin with the pancetta leaving enough overhang on each side to cover the top
- Remove the tough ends of the asparagus by bending them over your finger and seeing where their natural break is.
- Then steam the asparagus with sprinkle of salt until ‘al dente’ (nearly cooked), drain in cold water and set aside.
- Add the chopped shallot and crushed garlic to a small sauce pan with a tsp of butter, cook uncovered on low heat until shallot is soft & clear and edges start to go light brown, you will need to stir occasionally.
- Whilst the asparagus is steaming add the chicken breast to a magi-mix pulse until is is well chopped but don’t do it for too long you don’t want it to be completely smooth.
- Put the chopped chicken breast in a bowl, add the tarragon, chives, pistachio, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper. When the shallot and garlic mixture is ready and has cooled slightly add to the chicken mixture as well.
- Mix it all together until well combined the best way is to use your hands.
- Put a layer of the chicken mixture on the base of the lined loaf tin and smooth it out, then add a layer of asparagus in a neat row, you might need to trim the asparagus slightly to get the right size.
- Repeat another layer of chicken mixture followed by another layer of asparagus.
- Put the remaining chicken mixture on top, smooth out and press down firmly.
- Cover the top of the terrine with baking paper and then foil and place the loaf tin in a deep sided roasting tin.
- For best results add something weighted on top of the terrine, maybe another baking tray with some stones, don’t worry if that is not possible though.
- Fill the roasting tin with water until it comes half way up the loaf tin.
- Place in oven for 50-60 Minutes
- When you remove it from oven the juices should be running clear if it is cooked through.
- Allow to cool and then remove from tin.
- Slice and serve with suggestions above