Ox tongue and wood pigeon terrine with toast

Ox tongue and wood pigeon terrinePigeon breast, pigs trotters and ox tongues are not found in many people’s kitchens. And if you were to ask your butcher for the ingredients, he’d probably raise an eyebrow. Not necessarily because he doesn’t have them, rather that he rarely gets asked for them.

Don’t be squeamish about the trotter. It’s there to add flavour and make the terrine hold together. Lovely.

Serves six to ten

Two to four pigeon breast
One pig’s trotter
One ox tongue
Oil for frying
Two shallots – finely diced
A handful of parsley – finely diced
Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Bread for toast

Place the tongue and trotter in a large pan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for three hours, scooping off any scum that floats to the surface and topping up if the level falls below the top of the meat. Remove the tongue and trotter, increase the heat and reduce the liquid to about a quarter.

While that’s reducing, heat a separate pan, add a little oil and sear the pigeon breast for about two minutes each side. Remove and allow to rest.

Peel the tongue, break up the meat into a bowl with your fingers and mix in the shallot and parsley with a little salt and pepper.

Put half of the tongue mix into a loaf tin, lay the pigeon breasts on top and cover with the remaining tongue. Pour the reduced liquor into the tin until it’s near the top. Cover the tin with cling film and then put on a suitable weight to press it down. I use a house brick wrapped in cling film but another tin filled with water works well. Place in the fridge for a few hours to set.

Serve sliced – always allowing the slices to recover to room temperature before serving – along with toast, which looks great if you can do it on a hot griddle pan. Goes great with chutney.

Previously published in the Northern Echo in Bill’s Bites

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