Chicken Italian Starters Xmas recipes

Chicken and pancetta terrine

In vase you need more meat on Christmas this is perfect, this pancetta and chicken terrine is actually quite light and a greater starter or mid course if you don;t have enough food going on already


Cooking time
2 hours


1kg Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1cm cubes
3x100g Packs thinly sliced pancetta
50g Dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp Olive oil
6 Shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 Cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
A large handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Fresh tarragon, finely chopped
100ml Dry white wine
A good grating of whole nutmeg
Salt and pepper

You will also need:

a 2lb loaf tin, plus greaseproof paper and foil and a piece of thick card slightly larger than the top of the loaf tin


Use 2 packs of the pancetta to line the loaf tin, making sure the slices overlap slightly on the base and there is enough overhang to cover the top when the tin has been filled.
Finely slice the rest of the pancetta and put it in a large bowl with the chicken. Put the dried porcini in another bowl and add 200ml boiling water to rehydrate. Leave to soak for 10 mins. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add shallots. Cook over fairly high heat for about 5 mins then add garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.

Strain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid and chop finely.  Preheat oven to 180C.

Put liquid from mushrooms in a pan (make sure there is no grit at the bottom of the bowl first) and place over high heat to reduce to about 1 tablespoon. Leave to cool. Add the herbs to the chicken and pancetta, along with the cooled shallots, white wine and mushrooms and season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Strain the reduced mushroom liquid then add to meat mixture. Mix well using clean hands.

Pack the mixture into the pancetta-lined loaf tin and cover well with the overlapping pancetta, making sure there are no gaps.  Cover the surface of the terrine with greasproof paper, followed by a double layer of foil folded under the rim to seal. Next, place the terrine in a roasting tray and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 1 hour 15 mins.

After this time, remove the terrine from the oven and uncover. Insert a metal skewer into the centre and wait a few seconds. The juices should run clear. Place the skewer gently on your lower lip – it should feel hot. Empty the water from the roasting tray and return the terine to it, covering it with greasproof paper. It is important to press the terrine at this stage so that it will become compact and easy to slice.

To do this cut the card to fit snugly on top of the terrine and cover it with foil. Place a few weights or tins on top and leave for 1 hour. Then, remove the weights and cover with with fresh foil. When cool, put in the fridge to chill. To serve, cut into thick slices and serve with salad and crusty bread.

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