The last time I tasted this terrine of black beans, chorizo, and goat cheese was about 13 years ago in a restaurant bathroom in Washington, DC.
This requires an explanation.
It was the Bush I recession, jobs were scarce, and though I came to Washington in search of an entry-level job in international relations, I ended up working as a Congressional intern by day and busboy by night at a popular southwestern-themed restaurant just a couple blocks from the White House. I was constantly starving at this job because we started our eight-hour-plus shift at 3:30 p.m., and -- breaking with what is typical restaurant policy -- we were not given a staff meal, much less a break. By nine, with another three hours to go, I would be famished, and when one night one of my co-workers rolled by with a cart full of the terrines left over from a private party, he slipped me one. I covered the plate with a napkin, looked up and down the hallway to see if the coast was clear, and snuck into the employee bathroom, locking the door behind me. The warm, spicy terrine -- a chunky puree of black beans and spicy chorizo with a center of white, creamy goat cheese -- was one of the restaurant’s signature appetizers. It was supposed to be eaten with a fork and knife, small bites spread on toasted croutons, but with no time and no utensils, I shoved the terrine into my mouth with my hand and sucked it down in about three mouthfuls. I washed up, hid the plate and napkin in the garbage to retrieve later, and returned to the restaurant floor.
When Derrick Schneider at An Obsession With Food launched the ninth edition of Is My Blog Burning? (IMBB) with terrines as its theme, I was determined to recreate the black bean terrine, but this time enjoy it in a more, let's say, civilized manner. This IMBB comes on the heels of previous editions of the international culinary event focusing on soup, tartines, cake, rice, fish, grilling, dumplings, and, most recently, wine and spirits.
I searched online for a recipe to use as a guide for making this terrine, but my research turned out to be fruitless, and I ended up improvising to create the first terrine I have ever made. I started with one medium onion, which I chopped and sautéed in olive oil until soft and translucent, along with one clove of garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and cracked black pepper. I then added four cups of rinsed canned black beans with a small amount of water, cooking everything together until all of the liquid had evaporated. I wanted the beans to be dry so that they would hold their shape in the terrine. To the bean mixture, I added three links of chorizo, which I had cubed, fried separately, and drained.
The bean and chorizo mixture went into the refrigerator to cool. Once cold, I pureed it in a food processor with a small amount of water and olive oil to keep the mixture from clumping. I pulsed the beans and chorizo so as to leave the mixture slightly chunky, adding salt and pepper to taste. Lining a loaf pan with plastic wrap, I filled it with half of the puree, and then placed a long log of goat cheese in the center. I carefully topped the goat cheese with the rest of the puree and wrapped the top with more plastic. I placed the terrine in the refrigerator. When I removed it after a few hours, the terrine still felt somewhat soft, so I decided to put it in the freezer for about an hour.
I carefully unmolded the terrine, sliced it to reveal the goat cheese center, heated it until just warm, and served it with a puree of avocado, lemon juice, and olive oil, along with slices of baguette.
The terrine was not as spicy as I remembered it, and so if I was to do this again, I might add some chile to liven it up a little. Even so, at least I was able to eat it sitting down with proper utensils, not to mention enough time to savor every bite.