This duck terrine with asparagus is the perfect elegant French starter that everyone will love.
It might look complicated but this dish only requires assembling then cooking in the oven. It's really simple and easy!
Make it in advance or freeze it, add your own favourite ingredients - the possibilities are endless.
Why you will love this recipe
Have you ever been wanted to make a terrine but thought it looked too difficult? I've never been keen on really complicated dishes, but many years ago I realised that a terrine is really just a question of assembly, putting in the oven, cooling and slicing.
I usually make a game terrine at Christmas for a starter or buffet but this dish is so versatile as you can use different ingredients throughout the year too.
- easy to make and leave in the fridge until you need it - just slice and serve
- perfect for freezing
- no special skills required
- easy to customise with different ingredients
- great for starters, buffets, brunches and picnics too
What are the ingredients?
The main ingredients for the terrine are pigs liver, minced pork and skinless duck fillets.
You will need streaky bacon to line the dish but you could also use serrano ham or proscuitto instead.
The remaining ingredients are fresh asparagus spears, dried mixed herbs, onion, garlic and seasoning.
How to make a duck terrine
Start by making the meat filling by combining pork mince, minced pork liver, finely chopped onion, garlic, seasoning and herbs then roughly divide the mixture into thirds.
Stretch some streaky bacon with the back of a knife and line a 1 litre terrine dish or loaf tin.
Press in a third of the meat mixture and top with half of the duck mini fillets sliced lengthways.
Add the next third of mixture with the asparagus in the middle.
Add the remaining duck and final third of meat mixture before wrapping the bacon over.
Cover with a lid or foil and put in a roasting tray with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides. Cook at 160C/310F for 2 hours.
Remove the lid, cover with foil and use a couple of tins to weigh it down. This makes the terrine a good shape for slicing.
At this point most terrine recipes will advocate an aspic jelly but I prefer to pour off the juices in a gravy skimmer and pour back the juices, discarding the fat. This makes a natural jelly which you can scrape off or serve if you wish.
A pâté is predominantly made with a liver base ir normally chicken or pork liver while a terrine incorporates chunkier cuts of meat.
This dish improves for both slicing and flavour by making it the day before you are going to serve it. I would store it for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
If you are planning to freeze some, wrap it in clingfilm and then seal in a bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator.
Swap the pork liver for chicken livers for a milder flavour and use chicken or turkey mince instead of the pork.
Instead of duck fillets you could use other birds such as chicken pheasant, pidgeon or guinea fowl.
If asparagus is not in season you can leave it out completely or use fresh grean beans, slices of red peppers or a layer of dried cranberries for colour.
Another popular addition in France are pistachio nuts or dried apricots.
Normally just some good crusty bread is required or just some toasted bread.
Cornichons and other pickles are great or why not make a red onion chutney?
It's perfect for a picnic as it's easy to transport!
- leave the terrine to cool completely and leave overnight or the terrine will not slice evenly
- the terrine should turn out easily to slice but if it resists run some hot water carefully over the dish
More starter recipes
- 4 asparagus spears trimmed
- 250 g pigs liver minced
- 350 g minced pork
- 200 g duck fillets sliced lengthways
- 8 slices streaky bacon
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- Cut the liver into chunks and use a food processor to mince.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the liver, pork, onion, garlic, seasoning and herbs and divide into 3.
- Use the back of a knife to stretch the bacon and use to line a 1 litre terrine.
- Press ⅓ of the meat mixture into the terrine and add a layer of duck.
- Divide the next ⅓ into 2 and place the first half into the terrine then add the asparagus then other half.
- Add a further layer of duck and the final ⅓ of meat before folding over the bacon.
- Put the lid on and place the terrine in a roasting tin with enough boiling water to come halfway up the side.
- Cook at 160 C for 2 hours then remove the lid and allow to cool with a weight on top.
- Drain off the juices if liked and wait overnight before slicing and serving the terrine.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article.