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How to make a Christmas terrine

A game terrine is an impressive centrepiece that can be made ahead for a festive buffet or dinner party starter. Tender chicken pieces and seasonal venison are slow-cooked with cranberries and pistachios to make this delicious, meaty dish. Serve with a salad of bitter leaves, toasted baguette and your choice of chutneys or pickles.

  1. Prepare the tin

    Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Line a 2lb loaf tin with 2 large sheets of clingfilm, one across and one lengthways, with plenty overhanging the sides. Taking 2 x 84g packs of prosciutto, use a third of the prosciutto to line the base and one side of the tin, leaving enough overhang to cover the top later. Use the plastic sheets from the prosciutto packet to press it down, then repeat with the remaining prosciutto to cover the other side and ends of the tin, using spare pieces to patch any holes.

    Prepare the tin
  2. Mix the ingredients

    Pat dry 190g chicken livers with kitchen paper, then pulse to a coarse paste in a food processor. Squeeze 300g venison sausages from their skins into a bowl. Add the liver, 1 beaten egg, 60g fresh white breadcrumbs, 40g shelled and chopped pistachios, 1 crushed garlic clove, 30g dried cranberries, 1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves and 1 tbsp ruby port; season. Mix well with a spoon or your hands.

    Mix the ingredients
  3. Layer the filling

    Put a third of the filling in the base of the lined loaf tin. Add 150g diced chicken, followed by another third of the filling, another 150g diced chicken, and finally the last of the filling. Fold the prosciutto over the top.

    Layer the filling
  4. Cook in the bain-marie

    Fold the clingfilm over the prosciutto, cover tightly with foil and place in a roasting tin. Pour enough boiling water into the tin to come of the way up the sides to create a bain-marie*. Carefully place in the oven and cook for 1½-2 hrs until it feels firm to the touch and has shrunk away from the sides of the tin. When tested with a meat thermometer, the terrine should have an internal temperature of 75°C. If you don't have a meat thermometer, you can use a metal skewer. Push it through the clingfilm and into the centre of the terrine for 10 secs; it should be very hot. If in any doubt, return to the oven for another 10 mins, then check again.

    Step 4 mini*The bain-marie, or water bath, in this recipe slowly cooks the terrine without burning or scorching it. Top up the water in the roasting dish if it dips below the halfway point.

  5. Compress and leave to cool

    Once the terrine is cooked, remove the loaf tin from the bain-marie and transfer to a large plate. If you have another loaf tin the same size, place this on top, or cut a piece of cardboard to fit. Top with heavy weights (such as a few tins of beans) and leave to cool to room temperature. Transfer to the fridge and leave overnight with the weights still on top.

    Compress and leave to cool
  6. Carefully remove from the tin

    When ready to serve, remove the weights and foil, then peel back the clingfilm. Wipe off any jelly, then carefully turn the terrine upside down onto a serving board. Lift the tin off and remove the clingfilm.

    Carefully remove from the tin
  7. Slice and enjoy

    Scatter with extra pistachios, cranberries and thyme sprigs, then cut the terrine into chunky slices to serve. Eat within 3 days. 

    FINAL 472X310 mini

  8. Ingredients

    We've prepared a shopping list so you can easily find all the ingredients you need to make this tasty terrine in store. Don't forget to take a screenshot of the list, or note down what you need, before heading to the shops.

    2 x 84g packs prosciutto
    ½ x 380g pack chicken livers, fat and sinew removed
    300g pack venison sausages
    1 egg, beaten
    60g fresh white breadcrumbs
    40g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    30g dried cranberries, plus extra to serve
    1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs to serve
    1 tbsp ruby port or a fruity red wine (optional)
    300g pack chicken breast fillets, diced

    Serves 8

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      8g 11%
    • Saturates

      2g 12%
    • Sugars

      5g 5%
    • Salt

      1.9g 31%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 11.7g Protein 29.8g Fibre 1.7g