Pigeon Terrine

Terrine is one of those dishes that comes and goes out of fashion. To me, I think it makes a lovely starter, as it can be light, tasty, and best served with Melba toast.

When given several pigeons from the local farmer, I decided to make a terrine and share the recipe with you.

1 litre terrine (8-12 Portions)
Prep: 30-40 minutes plus 2 hours marinating
Cook: 1½ hours



  • 6 Pigeon Breast (around 300g)
  • 2 tbsp whisky
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 3 garlic cloves, bruised with the side of knife

Terrine Filling

  • 400g belly pork, diced into 2-3cm pieces
  • 3 tbsp of finely chopped thyme and oregano leaves
  • pinch of ground or very finely chopped mace
  • 6 juniper berries, ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp whisky
  • zest of 1 orange
  • maldon salt or similar sea salt flake and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g diced pancetta (small cubes)

To cook

  • 12 slices of streaky bacon (rindless)


  1. To Marinate: Place the pigeon breast in a container with the whisky thyme, bay leaf, juniper berries, and garlic, cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 2-3 hours.
  2. Filling (by Food Processor): Place all but the pancetta filling ingredients into a food processor and blend to a coarse mince. Return the mixture to a bowl and stir in the pancetta so that it is well distributed.
  3. Filling (by Hand): Alternatively chop the belly pork finely to a rough mince, add all the remaining ingredients and stir mix until well combined. Cover with cling film and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours to allow the flavours to mingle.
  4. To Assemble: Preheat an oven to 160°C. Place 2 bay leaves and a sprig of thyme on the base of a 1 litre terrine container or loaf tin and line it with 12 slices of streaky bacon. Fill the base of container with around a third of the terrine mixture, so that it covers the base. Lay three of the pigeon breast lengthwise over the pork mixture, repeat this process finishing with a layer of filling, pressing down firmly. Place the remaining slices of bacon over the top of the terrine.
  5. To Cook: Place the lid on the terrine or cover it in foil and place the terrine in a baking tray filled with enough water to come up to 2/3s of the terrine (bain-maire). Place on the centre shelf in the preheated oven. Cook the for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the terrine is set. The terrine is cooked when it begins to come away from the sides and the fat runs clear.
  6. Terrine: Remove the terrine from the oven and bain-marie, remove the lid or foil from the terrine and allow it to cool. Cover the terrine with cling film and place a weight on it e.g.tins of food. Place the weighted down terrine in the refrigerate and leave it for one day before serving. The terrine will keep for 2-3 days covered in a refrigerator.