I've always enjoyed terrines- the variation of texture and color on the plate. A terrine by definition is: a French forcemeat loaf similar to a pate, made with more coarsely chopped ingredients. Clearly this has no meat! But, there are many styles and types of terrines that have trended over the years, and today's trends have gravitated more towards the "vegetable" or non-meat style to appeal to vegetarians, vegans, and other diets.
What I love about this dish, is just the pure beauty and color of it! Nature at it's best- the pure colors of the Chioggia, Golden, and classic beets are so intense and deep, and the flavors definitely match that! I wanted to use the creamy, and incredibly smooth Italian Mascarpone cheese mixed with toasted chopped walnuts to spread between the layers, and off-set the sweet, earthy, and tender roasted mixed beets. When cooked, the sweetness of the beets becomes even more evident, so I didn't feel the need to add any additional sugar to the cheese filling. However, I made a very fragrant and sophisticated reduction to drizzle between the layers that consists of: Cream Sherry, Blood orange zest and juice, honey, cinnamon, black pepper, and cloves. This combination of colors and flavors is so striking on the plate, and on your tongue! Although there is some prep involved, this really is an easy recipe to throw together, and would be exceptional as an appetizer for; a formal dinner, wedding, anniversary, shower, elegant buffet, etc. This is best if assembled the night before your event, so it has time to compact all of those amazing elements together. All you need to do is unwrap, slice, and serve! How easy is that for a make ahead dish? I didn't even mention how healthy this is either! Simply fabulous.......
Yield: 8-12 slices
(Or, can double the servings by cutting each slice in half if serving other appetizers.)
1-2 large Chioggia beets
1-2 large Golden beets
1-2 large red beets
***Should have no less than 5 total beets! (I had 1 Chioggia, 2 Golden, and 2 red beets)
2- 8oz. containers of Mascarpone Cheese
1/2 cup of (toasted) chopped walnuts
1 c. Cream Sherry
Juice and zest of 1 Blood Orange (or and kind of orange will do!)
1 T. honey
1/2 cinnamon stick
few whole peppercorns
2-4 whole cloves
1) Preheat oven to 350F. On a foil lined sheet tray, place the whole beets, (no need to peel!), and roast in the oven at 350F for about 45min., or until tender, but not too soft! **You don't want to over bake the beets! You still want them to slice well, and maintain that texture. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool completely before slicing.
2) In a small sauce pot, combine all of the above ingredients, and place on medium heat until it comes to a boil. Turn down to low heat, and simmer for 20-30min., or until it reduces by at least half. Remove from heat, strain off spices, and allow to cool. ***Reduction will have more body, but will still be on the "thin" side.
3) Right before assembling, in a bowl, mix together the Mascarpone and the walnuts. Set aside. On a clean cutting board, remove the peel from the beets, and slice as thin as possible using a Mandolin if you have one.
4) Take a standard loaf pan, and line with saran wrap, so that the plastic will be able to fold over the top when filled. Starting at the bottom, begin to line the base with the first layer of beets, (I started with the Chioggia). Drizzle a little bit of the reduction over the beets, then spread a thin layer of the Mascarpone and walnut mixture. Repeat process with another layer of beets. Continue layering: beets, drizzle reduction, and cheese, and finish with a final layer of beets. Pull up the excess overhang of the saran wrap to cover the entire terrine. Place some cans or small jars on top to weigh down the terrine prior to refrigeration. (This will compact the entire terrine, and make it easier to slice.)
Refrigerate for a minimum of 2-4 hours, but preferably overnight.
5) When ready to serve, remove the cans or jars from the top. Carefully lift out the terrine from the loaf pan. Unwrap, and invert- to make sure that the terrine is the right side up before slicing! Simply slice with a sharp knife- making sure to dip in hot water between slices, (like when cutting a cake), to keep the slices nice and clean! ***Makes for better presentation. Place the slices however you would like prior to serving.
**You can serve them chilled or room temp. on a bed of greens, simply placed flat on a plate or platter, and garnish with chopped herbs, whole walnuts, additional drizzle of leftover reduction, etc.