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Cooking sweetbreads


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ok anyone wanna help me with other parts of the menu?

sweetbreads, fried, with a sauce made of ...  (i don't have veal stock at the moment; only beef, chicken and lobster). 

The chef/owner of a restaurant I love in France kept wanting to make me a dish of sweetbreads and lobster, but he wasn't getting sweetbreads in while I was there. But the combination sounds good to me, and I'll bet you could conjure up a great sauce that'd go swell with the sweetbreads.

Edited to say sorry, I missed the date on that one.

Edited by markk (log)

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I've got a pound, and I like them fluffy, I plan on deep frying. Any trucs?

soak in milk

clean membraine



is this how it goes?

so they came out great- if I do say do myself. I thawed the "loaf" in milk in the fridge for two days.

Then quick poached it (1 min). *shock*

then cleaned and seperated the lobes.

poched them for 30 seconds. *shshock*

cleaned them again just in case.

breaded them in flour, egg and semolina (for crunch)

served them with a saag paneer sans paneer, mango chutney greek yogurt, pickled curried apples and chile oil....oooh so good.

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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That sounds fantastic.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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I think sweetbreads are mainly a texture isse. I think its very important to braise them for a time in a resuced stock with way too make aromatics. My procedure for this is:

1) PLace the sweetbreads in a container and run a tap of cold water over them for 40 minutes. ( this is quicker than letting them soak in their own filth)

2) Blanch them in boliing water for 45 seconds or so.

3) Shock and press overnight.

4) Saute in a large pan about 4 onions rough chop. 2 carrots rough chop. 1 bunch leeks rough chop. Carmelize all the veggies until they are brown and very sweet. Remove the veggies.

5) Add the sweetbreads to the same pan with some more butter for lubrication. Crisp them for about 4 minutes on one side and then kiss them on the other side. remove the sweetbreads.

6) Deglaze with 4 tbs red wine vinegar.

7) Add the sweetbreads, veggies and about 1 cup of reduced (jello) veal stock. Add a head of garlic, and few stock for thyme and rosemary. Braise this for about 10 minutes in an oven at 350.

8) Remove and let them sit in the braising liquid overnight.

9) Cut the sweetbreads up into whatever portions you want. Roast them until theyr are crispy. Strain the stock and reduce. Mount with butter and eat them up.

I find that this overload of aromatics really goes along way for the otherwise tasteless sweetbreads. But that just me.

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  • 1 year later...

Resurrectin' a sweetbread thread......

Tonight I'll be preparing veal sweetbreads for the first time, and so far a couple of observations..... first of all, the trimming/peeling aspect does not do well with my OCD tendencies. I find it is too easy to go too far....following every little piece of skin or vein to the point where you are left with a bunch of little lobes (for lack of a proper term). Also, the amount of poaching required will have to be on a case by case basis because after poaching a couple of pieces for too long it is easy to mistake a cooked piece of sweetbread with skin or gristle.....and then the OCD trimming sets in.

The nice thing is, I was afraid at first it would gross me out to handle and soak/poach/trim these beauties, but I find it to be even less "icky" than dealing with raw poultry.

I put them in the fridge to press last night, and I think I'm just going to do a simple Wondra-dusting preparation and accompany them with a caper/shallot/lemon/butter/white wine pan sauce.

On a sidenote, in order to get them at my local supermarket I had to have them special ordered and I am now the proud owner of a 20lb case ($1.59/lb), so even after doling some out to friends I have PLENTY for freezing and tons of practice. Next time I'll skip the pressing and see which texture I prefer....my guess is non-pressed because I do love the fluffiness. Sweetbreads truly are one of my all-time favorite foods, so I'm looking forward to the homework.

Will report back.....


Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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I also made them for the first time a couple of weeks ago. A local specialty market tends to carry veal sweetbreads in their freezers. I did a little reading on the net and of course here at egullet. I let them thaw in the fridge and then soaked them in cold water for 24hrs in the fridge.

I was surprised to see that they were peeled and were oval so were thought to be pancreas and not thymus. Blanching directions vary from a couple of minutes to over 30 min. I Blanched them for around 20 min. They were white with a tan color in the grooves that made me think that they were still raw in the middle. Not so. After blanching they were shaped like a C and made me think they may be a chance they were thymus glands.

I did an over night pressing and then the next day cut them on a bias to make medallions. These were dusted with Wondra and pan fried. I made a sauce of reduced veal stock and mushrooms. The sweetbreads were served on a little bed of green pea puree. Although they tasted very mild and the surface crisp, the texture was a little more dense than I was looking for. I have another package in the freezer to a second try. I will try to blanch for less time, 5-10 min and skip the pressing.

Any advice before I try again would be appreciated.

I was very surprised my wife ate them with me. Not something she would ever order on a menu.

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Okay, this will obviously take some practice, but so far off to a decent start..... I think the biggest issue for me thus far is figuring how much peeling/deveining is enough. The first batch I prepared was sliced into medallions after pressing, and it was a mixed experience with about half of them being chewy, which I'm assuming was from a lack of peeling/cleaning. The batch I cooked last night was WAY better, the difference being that I went ahead and broke them down even further into their smallest pieces instead of cutting them up. This cleared them of a lot of the connective tissue that I had originally left behind, and what I ended up with were "nuggets" ranging from the size of a nickel to that of a quarter. Totally delicious, exactly what I was hoping for. Crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and just enough of that light livery flavor. Lots of practice in my future to really get it right, but so far what I originally thought was TOO much cleaning is the ace in the hole for me.


Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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  • 2 months later...

I love sweetbread and bought 2 packs at the butcher store yesterday. I plan to turn them into appetizers for the holidays. I have found quite a few recipes that seem delicious... sage and brown butter, riesling sauce, etc.

What is your favorite way to cook/eat them?

Edited by Magictofu (log)
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  • 7 months later...

I got into a discussion with my exec. a few weeks ago about sweetbreads. After an overnight soak, my understanding was that a light poach in a court bouillon was in order...but not to cook the SB through...like leave them MR.

He told me to poach them all the way, then press overnight.

I understand my place is to do what he asks, so I did, but just for my own knowledge the "correct" technique is NOT to cook them all the way through on the poach, chill the meat in the liquid (without overcooking), then (if one chooses) pressing and doing a secondary cook.

While I understand that there is no 100% right or wrong way, I need some vindication that my technique is the superior one...am I right?

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just as an aside, the butcher that gave last night's class mentioned in passing that sweetbreads are really high in cholesterol. No idea if that's true, nor do I personally have to care, but I thought I'd mention it.

I have yet to make them, but it's on my long list of things to do. First come the trotters and the pig's jowls I have in the freezer though, and the goat liver, rabbits, ...

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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