And on the 5th Day, Eli Made an Epic Effing Terrine

By Sean Kenniff | Caroline Hatchett


Sean Kenniff
Caroline Hatchett
Terrine of Beef Cheek, Corned Veal Tongue, and Foie Gras with Salsa Verde
Terrine of Beef Cheek, Corned Veal Tongue, and Foie Gras with Salsa Verde

It’s saucy. Spicy. Cheeky. And there’s even tongue. Starting on day one of prep for Chef Eli Collins’ six-day terrine at in Philadelphia, there’s nearly two pounds of unadulterated veal tongue. There are also two lobes of foie and a pile of wagyu beef cheeks. By the time Collins slices the finished terrine for service, these proteins have seen the inside of an immersion circulator, wood-fired grill, smoker, and a CVap. Get the recipe here. 

“Something I brought to is a lot of French-style charcuterie, foie gras torchons, pig trotter terrines, things that tie in braising techniques, etc. I’ve done a lot of meat and sauce work in my career,” says Collins. “Training staff on charcuterie is hard because the process takes so many days—braising, chilling, setting.”  

Let’s get started.

Day 1
Corned Veal Tongue: Before the mouth meat enters the walk-in, kiss it goodbye for up to four days while it bathes in a brine infused with garlic, molasses, bay leaf, coriander, black and Aleppo peppers, allspice, cinnamon, clove, and Instacure #2.

Day 2
Beef Cheeks: Rise and shine! Clean and coat those cheeks in a cure including pepper blend: black, pink, and Szechuan peppercorns, plus coriander. Oh, and plenty fresh nutmeg. Into the walk-in it goes for the next 12 to 18 hours. Quick, stick out your pinky and down your demitasse!

Foie Grass: Temper lobes in an immersion circulator, devein, splash with cognac and Madeira, and sprinkle with a cure of citric acid and Instacure #2, but mostly pepper blend. Leave in the walk-in overnight. Sleep tight!

Day 3
Beef Cheeks: This is a big day for the cheeks. Cold smoke ’em, grill ’em, and braise ’em in a CVap with mirepoix, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, red wine reduction, and chicken stock. Drain and pull meat, spread on a tray, cover, and slide back into walk-in. Strain and store liquid in there, too.  
Foie Gras: Press and form your lobes into a terrine mold, place in a warm water bath, and slide into a 375°F-oven for 30 minutes. Pour off that rendered fat, top the terrine with some weights, and chill 1 hour (not you, the terrine). Remove weights and return terrine to walk-in to set for at least 24 hours.

Day 4
Beef Cheeks: Get rid of that crown of congealed fat atop the braising liquid. Reduce by half, season with salt and Moscatel vinegar, and stir in gelatin. Cool, cover, and get thee straight back to the walk-in.      

Foie Gras: Easy peasy. Remove from mold, tightly wrap, and return foie terrine to walk-in. Grab the tongues. They corned.

Corned Veal Tongue: Oh, hello. Braise two hours with mirepoix, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf, and allspice. Rip off and toss that outer membrane. Strain the braising liquid. Let the tongue chill out in the liquid, in the walk-in, overnight. Good night.

Day 5
It’s finally time to build a big, beautiful, progressive, geometric, straight-up delicious terrine. Warm cheek meat and season with shallots, parsley, chives, and reduced braising liquid; chill. Cut foie and tongue into imperfect 1/2-inch squares—trapezoids, almost-triangles, oblong rectangles, and various parallelograms, go crazy! Chill them until almost frozen. Build the terrine using cheek meat as base, and layering in foie and tongue shapes. Wrap in plastic, apply slight pressure, and let set in walk-in until tomorrow mornin’.

Day 6
Today’s the day! Unmold, tightly wrap, and refrigerate terrine for service. At pick-up, cut one 1/4-inch-thick slice of terrine. Stand in awe of your handiwork. Well done, you! On a plate, slightly warm slice in an oven for optimum flavor. Spoon outrageously fresh and tangy salsa verde around that handsome slice. When it hits the table, let guests soak in all that beauty before dropping the grilled bread. Have a swig of that Day 1 cognac, you deserve it!  

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