Eel, spinach and potato terrine

Matt Tebbutt uses own-made jellied eels as the base of an elegantly chunky terrine ideal for a lunch party
By Matt Tebbutt
Eel, spinach and potato terrine
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes plus cooling and setting time
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 eel, cleaned and gutted, chopped into 3-5cm pieces, skinned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 leek
  • 200 g spinach
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled
  • 1 large banana shallot, finely sliced
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped dill

To serve

  • 3-4 sprigs dill
  • 3-4 sprigs parsley
  • 6-8 lemon wedges


1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the eel pieces, bay leaves and vinegar and return to the boil. Immediately turn down the heat under the pan so that the eel simmers gently for 1 hour, until very tender. Top up with boiling water from the kettle if necessary. When the eel is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool before placing the lot in the refrigerator to chill overnight (pour it into a bowl if desired).

2. Next day the eel will have jellified. Remove and discard the bones and chop up any very large bits of eel meat. Set aside.

3. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Chop the root off the leek and separate the leaves. Add them to the boiling water and blanch for 1-2 minutes, until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in cold water. Spread the leek out on kitchen paper to dry.

4. Add the spinach to the pan of boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds, until wilted. Drain and refresh in cold water, then set aside to drain thoroughly.

5. Meanwhile, cook the potato gently in a small pan of salted boiling water until tender but not breaking up. Remove and leave to drain on kitchen paper until the potato is completely dry and cool. Carefully cut into 5mm slices and set aside.

6. Heat a knob of butter in a small frying pan and fry the shallot gently until tender. Set aside to cool on kitchen paper.

7. Squeeze out any excess water from the blanched spinach and season with salt and pepper.

8. Line a terrine mould with cling film. Use the leaves of leek to line the terrine, overlapping them so that there are no gaps. Allow enough overhang for both the cling film and the leek to cover the top of the terrine once it is filled.

9. Place a layer of sliced potato in the base of the terrine and season with salt and pepper. Add a thin layer of spinach, then a layer of shallot. Sprinkle with some of the dill. Add some jellied eel, including the jelly, then season again with salt, pepper and dill. Add another layer of potato and continue layering the remaining ingredients until you reach the top of the terrine.

10. Fold the leek up over the terrine so the filling is completely enclosed, then do the same with the cling film. Weight down the terrine with something heavy such as a couple of food cans and chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, until set.

11. When ready to serve, remove the terrine from the mould and use a hot-bladed knife to slice it gently. Garnish with dill, parsley and lemon wedges and serve.

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