Friday, March 23, 2012

Recipe: Spam Terrine or Sour Cherry Spiced Ham Terrine

My son thinks he likes Spam.  A quick story before I divulge my ultra secret Spam recipe...

We were reading a Daniel Pinkwater novel, I believe it was the Neddiad, where a young heir moves to Los Angeles when on his trip he has a Spam sandwich.  My son thought that sandwich sounded good.  I remembered the spiced ham as being salty and greasy.

When we got the can, the first disappointment struck.  I remember a key that turned a small strip of the can until you were able to pull it apart.  Maybe it was only the lesser mimics and there are plenty of mimics that had that feature but it made me doubt my memory.  Then I tasted the potted meat and memory served correct.  How could this meat be made palatable and delicious for a family meal?  Well, for that first time, I took sliced Spam and seared it.  With the fat left in the pan, I added cherry juice, small bit of sugar, balsamic vinegar and black pepper and reduced the sauce.  Voila, Seared Spiced Ham with Cherry Reduction Sauce.  So, my son thinks he likes Spam.

Ever since then, I have been trying to find a way to slip something similar into a dinner party or some get together and a few weeks ago, a chance presented itself.  Some parents were having a no kids cocktail party and I offered to bring something.

Terrine is just a fancy way of talking about cold meatloaf.  So, I searched the internet for a way to make a terrine out of cooked meat and there isn't very much.  I did find one site that I used as inspiration but on the whole, it was tough.  Regardless, here is the recipe.

Sour Cherry Spiced Ham Terrine

2 cans Spam
1 smoked Kessler pork chop (any smoked piece of flesh will work)
1 egg white
1 c whipping cream
1 tbsp mustard seed (double for pronounced flavour)
1/2 tsp grains of paradise (double for pronounced flavor, can substitute black pepper and cloves)
1 pkg gelatin
1c sour cherry juice
1/2 tsp black pepper

Special Equipment

Food processer
Chilled metal bowl
Terrine mold or loaf pan

1.  Using food processor, puree spam, egg white and whipping cream.  If a lighter, less salty taste is preferred, add a little more cream.  Move to a chilled metal bowl.
2.  Chop smoked pork chop in small cubes. 1/2" pieces is fine.  It is to give a little texture to the otherwise pink homogenous mess.
3.  Toast half of the mustard seed.  Smells a little like popcorn.
4.  Add mustard and grains of paradise into Spam mixture.
5.  Fold in smoked pork chop into Spam mixture.  Pat into mold or loaf pan.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.  If you can put it in a water bath, do.  Otherwise, the outside may cook inconsistently and make the terrine look odd.  But don't sweat it.
6.  Let cool until it can be placed in fridge.  Truth be told, I let it set on the counter for 15 minutes and placed it in the freezer.

Gelatin Topping
1. You can use any type of gelatin you want.  Follow the instructions on the package.  I used Knox and crushed some black pepper into the liquid.  After warming the liquid, I strained it before adding the hot liquid to the bloomed gelatin.  I added a little citric acid to give a bit more sour taste.  It is all to your palate.  Lemon juice or lime would have worked as well.
2. Place slightly cooled liquid on cooled meatloaf.
3. Let set.

If you have time let it be for about a day.  So, it went over well.  I took half a loaf and there was around two slices worth left.  Most people liked it and the most telling comment was that if I hadn't mentioned that it was Spam, they would've thought salty ham.  It brought out the best part of the Spam.

I would work to dampen the saltiness and add more of the spicing.  When spices get cold they lose some of that oomph so doubling the spices that go in would work well. I could have used a little more gelatin as it was the thing that cut the rich and fatty parts of the terrine.

Serve it with a good french bread, cornichons and a mustard or chutney and there you go.


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