Pork and Swiss Chard Terrine Recipe

Pounti Auvergnat

I was particularly enthused, a few weeks ago, to read that Derrick was hosting the 9th edition of Is My Blog Burning? and that the theme he had set was terrines.

Reason number one : Derrick The Talented is one of my absolute favorite food bloggers, I am always in awe of his uncompromising approach and his ambitious endeavours. His was among the first food blogs that ever existed, and An Obsession With Food is one of the two or three blogs which inspired me to create Chocolate & Zucchini (another one being the now defunct Julie/Julia Project).

Reason number two : the terrine theme. Terrines are particularly French, they’re versatile and fun (a bit like the French, yes?), and I have derived much much pleasure in the past from creating my own little loaves of goodness, using my beloved bright red terrine dish.

I am certain I’m not the only lover of words and etymology around here (oh and toponymy, too!), so let me point out that terrine is, of course, a French word. It comes from terre, which means earth, and was initially the word for a deep earthenware dish, round or square, with a lid. In a typical case of metonymy, it has come to also mean whatever is baked and served in it. So. A metonymic theme, which also rhymes with my own IMBB theme of tartines : what more could a girl ask for?

I pondered the possibilities, and suddenly remembered about the Pounti Auvergnat, a terrine that I had tasted, loved and written about a few months ago. Pounti is a specialty from Auvergne (a mountainous region in the center of France), a meat terrine with blettes (swiss chard) and pruneaux (prunes). Swiss chard and prunes happen to be two of my favorite ingredients (oh darn I should have called this blog “Swiss Chard & Prunes”, what was I thinking) and I had long wanted to try and recreate this recipe. This was the perfect occasion.

Following my usual method, I gathered the different recipes available out there, compared them, discarded the ones that made little sense or called for impossible ingredients (no, I do not have a guinea-fowl handy) and merged the interesting ones into my own version. I decided to use the prunes pits-on, to preserve their shape and juices — just like grandmothers traditionally do with cherries in clafoutis.

To say that I was utterly delighted with my pounti would be a droll understatement. Everything went miraculously according to plan (batter consistency, quantity, cooking time), and it was reasonably quick and easy to put together. The result was an appetizing affair, golden and puffy, which unmolded perfectly. I cut up slices for a weeknight dinner (maneuvering the knife blade as adroitly as I could around the pits) and Maxence and I both loved the unusual and comforting taste of this fragrant terrine. As expected, the cold leftovers were just as delicious the next day, so this would be a perfect make-ahead dish for a dinner party or brunch.

Pounti Auvergnat

– 3 large leaves of swiss chard (keep the whites for another use), rinsed and chopped
– a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, rinsed and chopped
– 8 leaves of fresh sage, rinsed and chopped
– one onion, peeled and chopped
– 200g all-purpose flour
– 4 eggs
– 1/2 C (125 ml) of milk
– 400g shredded pork meat (possibly mixed with veal as well, as in the French “chair à saucisse”)
– a crustless slice of stale bread, crumbled
– 1/4 tsp salt
– a good grind of pepper
– 250g prunes (a.k.a dried plums, about 20) with or without the pits — I used semi-dry prunes which are nice and plump, but you can use the very dry ones after soaking them overnight in a bowl of tea to plump them up
– a dab of butter

(Serves 6.)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F), and grease a terrine dish (don’t forget to grease the lid if your dish has one) with butter.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the flour and the eggs. Pour in the milk and whisk well. Add in the shredded meat, the sliced onion, the crumbled bread, salt and pepper, and mix again. Add in the chopped chard and herbs, and mix again until thoroughly combined.

Pour a third of the mixture in the greased terrine dish. Top with half of the prunes, arranging them evenly to make sure every terrine slice will have a bit of prune in it. Cover with another third of the mixture, top with the rest of the prunes, then pour in the rest of the mixture.

Cover with the lid of your terrine dish (or a piece of foil if your terrine dish is desperately lidless) and put into the oven to bake for an hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Switch the oven to grill, remove the lid (or foil) and return the terrine into the oven for five minutes, or until the top is nice and golden.

Let rest on the counter for 15 minutes, then unmold. Cut in thickish slices with a serrated knife (delicately pushing aside any pit that the blade encounters) and serve warm, at room temperature or cold. And if you’ve left the pits in, be sure to warn your guests! Leftovers are also excellent the next day, and slices can be reheated gently in the microwave or sauteed in a hot skillet with just a little oil.

  • http://shewhoeats.blogspot.com/ chika

    Hi Clotilde, your pounti looks beautiful and it is indeed an intriguing combination! (I didn’t remember reading your post about a dish called “pounti” before so I went and checked it out, and figured that I was off on vacation and offline in early April… so yours is my very first encounter with pounti!)

    I wonder if prunes were fresh or dried? They look like fresh, but then fresh prunes won’t usually get “too dry”, I wondered…
    I want to try this one, too!

  • http://shewhoeats.blogspot.com/ chika

    eh, by the way, Chocolate & Zucchini sounds better than Swiss Chard & Prunes, in my opinion…

  • Alisa

    Usually when I see something on a French menu, that I have never heard of, I first make sure that is in no way, any variation of andouillette, or its parts. Then I say, sure, why not, let’s try it. During my first year, living here, I saw Pounti on a menu, tried it and loved it. Am so happy to have this recipe. AND you have answered a question of mine. I have been curious about your inspirations, and which blogs got you started!

  • http://cookingwithamy.com Cooking with Amy

    Clotilde, you are the Queen of the Terrine!

  • Maman

    Clotilde came for diner on Friday and brought a slice of her pounti. I can testify that it was delicious, tasty and soft, with a mix of sweet (the “pruneaux”) and salt (the Swiss chard and the meat). Un régal : bravo Clotilde !

  • cheesy chilaquiles

    Clotilde,

    What is the manufacturer of your lovely red terrine?

  • http://www.marcinha.co.uk Marcia

    Hi Clotilde, just to let you know that I made the mini-melt-in-mouth-chocolate-cake in small paper cups and it was fabulous!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! I tried to make it for the second time but then i… erm… couldn’t wait to take them out from the oven and they completely colapsed, hehehe.

    I’ll make it again, for sure!

    :o)

  • ajd

    Love your blog. I am always looking for food blogs to learn how to cook better to suit my allergies. Do you know if there is a substitute for the gelatin I saw in one of the recipes?

  • http://www.obsessionwithfood.com Derrick Schneider

    ajd,

    (if clotilde doesn’t mind)

    You can use agar agar as a substitute for gelatin. It adds a grittier texture than gelatin, and I think you have to use a bit more agar agar than you would with gelatin. Agar agar comes from seaweed, and you can probably find it a health food or organic store (not sure about Whole Foods, but it’s worth a shot).

  • Gwen

    Hi Clotilde,

    What is the French for Swiss chard ? Just blettes ? Thanks,

    Gwen

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Gwen – It is “blettes” or sometimes “bettes”.

  • kelli ann

    just took the beautiful pounti from the oven. i’m bringing it to a potluck tonight in Montreal for the many partners of our CSA farm. have to be careful with the pronunciation tho & not call it “poutin”
    heh heh heh
    all in all a great recipe for a first foray into the terrine
    (now i need my own dish – oh, dear!)

  • Benoît

    God gracious ! Ma défunte mère, Chère Clotilde, serait très étonnée de lire une description aussi élégante et raffinée du Pounti ! C’était à l’origine le plat des pauvres, et, en Auvergne, singulièrement dans le Cantal, on se contentait de mettre dedans les restes de la semaine (y compris le pain dur et noir) : le tout bien mélangé pour que “ça passe” !

    Dans les autres départements d’Auvergne, ça s’appelait aussi Pountar ; et la farine de blé était remplacée par de la farine de Chataignes : car le blé (le froment) c’était pour les riches ! Et, à ma connaissance, l’addition des pruneaux est assez récente : comme ces fruits ne se transportaient que secs, ils ont été ajoutés quand les communications avec les départements voisins se sont développées…

  • Claire

    Should the meat be cooked prior to putting it in the terrine?

    • Cliff Abrams

      That was my question also. Having answered the raw/cooked question, i wonder if you can provide a suggestion as to how to “shred” the raw meat. Thanks very much.

      • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

        I buy shredded pork meat at my butcher’s; if that’s not an option, you can chop it in a food processor.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Claire – No: the meat will cook during the hour in the oven.

  • http://frenchletters.wordpress.com Abra

    This is really delicious. I made it this weekend, with a couple of little tweaks, and wrote about it here.

  • OzJay

    Enticed by the picture, I made this terrine last week. I found that the egg and flour batter that binds the ingredients, gave it an unpleasantly stodgy texture. I think I’ll be sticking with more traditional terrine recipes – minus the flour – in future.

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