Pressed quail, liver and pastırma terrine with spiced almond butter

Pressed quail, liver and pastırma terrine with spiced almond butter

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

This is a fairly complex restaurant-style dish, but it is a wonderful way to use strongly flavoured pastırma – Turkish air-dried beef – and makes a stunning dinner party starter. Ask your butcher nicely to bone the quail for you, unless you feel confident about doing it yourself.

I like to serve this with a herb salad dressed with a tangy vinaigrette dressing, garnished with pomegranate seeds if in season.


Quantity Ingredient
10 baby leeks
100ml olive oil
1.25kg chicken livers, cleaned of sinew, blood and fat
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 quail, boned and left whole
125g pastirma, very finely sliced

Spiced almond butter

Quantity Ingredient
60g blanched almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
200g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon thyme leaves


  1. To make the spiced butter, dry roast the almonds in a frying pan over a low heat until golden brown, then tip onto a plate and repeat with the sesame seeds. Pulse the almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add the spices, salt and pepper and pulse until finely ground. Be careful not to overgrind or the mixture will become an oily paste. Tip the spice mix into a bowl and, using a fork, mash in the butter until smooth and homogeneous. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Trim the tops of the leeks neatly and rinse well to get rid of any lingering dirt. Steam the leeks until tender, then drain and leave to cool.
  3. Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat until almost smoking. Add a few tablespoons of the oil to the pan, followed by a third of the livers. Seal the livers all over until a good colour – no more than 2 minutes in total, to keep them medium rather than overcooked – and season with salt and pepper. Remove the livers immediately to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining livers, adding more oil to the pan as required. Reserve the cooked livers until ready to assemble the terrine.
  4. Season the quail lightly with salt and pepper. Heat a little more oil in another frying pan and sauté the quail, skin-side down, over a medium heat until lightly coloured. Turn and sauté the other side for another 1–2 minutes, or until the quail are just cooked. Remove the quail from the pan, cut them in half and set aside.
  5. When ready to assemble the terrine, melt the spiced butter gently, then stir in the thyme and keep in a warm place. Line a 30 cm cast-iron terrine mould with four layers of plastic wrap, leaving enough of an overhang to seal the finished terrine.
  6. Arrange overlapping slices of pastırma across the base of the mould so the ends reach up the sides. Pack in enough chicken livers to cover the base and drizzle on about 4 tablespoons of the melted spiced butter. Place four pieces of quail along the length of the terrine, filling in the gaps with more chicken livers. Drizzle on another few tablespoons melted butter. Arrange the leeks on top of this layer of chicken livers, running them end-to-end to fit the mould, then flatten and press them slightly. Drizzle with a little more spiced butter. Continue to form more layers using the remaining quail and chicken livers, drizzling in spiced butter as you go.
  7. Pour any remaining butter over the final layer of the terrine and fold up the plastic wrap to cover and seal. Cut out a piece of polystyrene (or a few thick pieces of cardboard) just smaller than the mould and fit it inside the terrine. Sit a 1 kg weight on the polystyrene (full cans will also do) and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  8. After 6 hours remove the weights. When ready to serve, unwrap the terrine and invert it onto a serving plate, then cut into 2 cm thick slices.
Middle Eastern
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