Back in the Fall, the folks at Lava sent me a bunch of their cast iron cookware to try. And even though a bunch of free cast iron sounds great on the face of it, initially I was leery: I told them that I’d be happy to test out their stuff, but that if I didn’t like it, I would not offer a giveaway nor recommend it to my readers; i.e. they were not going to buy my good opinion for the price of a few pots & pans. On top of that, I told them I was pretty dedicated to my Staub and Le Creuset, and therefore the competition would be stiff. I might have been just a wee bit snippy about it, to tell you the truth. “You? Snippy? Never!” I hear you say, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
To their credit, they replied that they only wanted my honest opinion of their cookware. They had read the Dutch oven review and follow-up posts, and as Lava will be entering the US market this Spring, they wanted to know how their cookware stacked up. I could write about it or not, I could photograph it or not; all they really wanted was for me to cook with the pieces and give them feedback. Free cast iron cookware and I get to regale you with my opinions? Sign me up!
The funny thing is, one of the pieces they sent me was a cast iron terrine pan. While the Lava website states that it’s “perfect for baking breads, making pâté, and roasting meats and vegetables,” this is a small pan. The top of that terrine above is 2 ¼ inches across. That would be one tiny loaf of bread, my friends. I think my first comment back to them was, “You do realize that this is America, right? No one on this side of the pond makes terrines.” Did I mention snippy?
Really, it’s designed for making pâté and looks perfect for making pâté. There’s just one problem: I don’t like pâté. I mean, Spam is basically pâté, people: think about that. And while I still think it would make a perfect tiny succulent garden, I’m not sure that’s quite the feedback that Lava is looking for. So, for months now I’ve been trying to find a terrine recipe that didn’t sound (to me) simply awful: didn’t require chicken livers, or sweetbreads, or husband-verboten eggplant & zucchini. I had in mind something vaguely autumnal, like white bean, roasted winter squash, and goat cheese. But I felt that, for my first time a-terrine-ing, I needed a recipe to work from; at least a jumping-off point. Much determined Googling later, I finally found this holiday gem (typically for me 3 weeks too late): pistachio cranberry chèvre and cream cheese terrine.
The title pretty much says it all: tart, zingy cranberries, tangy creamy goat cheese, crunchy toasted pistachios. I tweaked a bit: more cranberries, some feta crumbles, pistachios on the top and bottom. I think I’ll tweak a bit more, on the second time around: some chile in with the cranberries, I think, or an extra splash of lemon. Something to give it a bit more punch against the cheese. But make no mistake, a second time there will be. This kind of terrine I can get behind 100%.
Adapted from Pistachio Cranberry Chèvre and Cream Cheese Terrine by Dierre Acheson (Never Enough Thyme Catering) for Observer Xtra.
- 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup red wine
- ½ cup sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ a cinnamon stick
- a few grinds black pepper
- pinch sea salt
- optional: half a minced jalapeño pepper, or a pinch of dried red chile flakes
- 5 oz chèvre (fresh goat cheese), at room temperature
- 2 oz feta cheese, finely diced or crumbled
- 2 ½ oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- zest of ½ a lemon
- ¼ tsp sea salt (OR substitute ½ tsp lemon zest salt in place of salt + fresh zest)
- ¾ cup shelled pistachios, divided
- Make cranberry jelly. In a small saucepan, combine cranberries, wine, sugar, bay leaf, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and glossy and beginning to stick to the bottom, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until completely cooled. Chill in fridge or outdoors to speed up the process.
- Make cheese spread. In a medium bowl, combine chèvre, feta, cream cheese, heavy cream, lemon juice, zest & salt. Whip briskly with a fork until creamy and spreadable. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Toast & chop pistachios. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread pistachios out on a small baking tray. Roast until fragrant and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove to a clean plate and allow to cool completely, then coarsely chop.
- Assemble terrine. Line a 4-cup terrine pan (or small loaf pan) with parchment or plastic wrap. Scatter ¼ cup of the pistachios evenly across the bottom of the pan. Layer carefully with about half of the cheese spread; spread to an even layer with a small offset spatula. Layer cranberries on top of the cheese, spreading evenly if necessary. Layer the remaining cheese over the cranberries, taking care to avoid mixing the layers. Level the top with a spatula. Sprinkle another ¼-cup of pistachios across the top. Lightly press pistachios into the cheese layer with a piece of parchment or plastic wrap, then cover tightly. Tamp terrine on the counter several times to settle contents. Cover terrine and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.
- Serve. Remove terrine from the refrigerator. Lift cover and remove parchment or plastic wrap. Invert pan onto a serving platter. You won’t be able to move it once it’s out of the pan, so position carefully. Carefully peel back plastic wrap. Scatter remaining toasted pistachios across the top of the terrine. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Serve with crackers, flat bread, sliced apple or pear.
Serves at least 12 people as an appetizer.
- I found that the pistachios in the bottom of the pan (the eventual top of the terrine) got a bit too soggy for my liking; but the terrine did sit in my fridge for a few days. They might hold up better with a shorter refrigeration. Either way, it was fine with some extras added just before serving for beauty & crunch.
- As I say above, I think the cranberries could use a bit more punch. Perhaps simply a bit less sugar to celebrate their natural tartness; or perhaps a bit of chile or some more lemon juice & zest. Maybe even just a bit more salt & pepper. I’ll let you know next time I experiment.
- To make this even more quick & easy, I think any good-quality or home-canned cranberry jelly/jam would work nicely here. Even a chutney, if it’s on the sweeter side. Or, while cranberries are in season, you could can up some preserves specifically designed for this recipe: the jellied cranberry above would be perfectly safe to can; simply make as directed, ladle hot preserves into hot jars and process for 10 minutes.
Refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Winter, especially the holidays.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Lava sent me cookware for review purposes only.