I can't begin to completely or adequately explain my love for sweetbreads -- the thymus gland of a young calf or lamb. This gland is situated around the vocal cords of these animals. When cooked properly, sweetbreads have a crispy, crunchy exterior and a creamy, mild interior. The French call them Ris de Veau (not an 80s boy band from Philly!)

Sweetbreads are a little scary for those who don't know what to expect. I prefer them from a calf instead of the lamb, as the veal sweetbreads are supremely creamy. This recipe is really very simple. It just has a few steps that take a bit of time, but your patience will be worth the wait. Cheers!

Crispy sweetbreads with porcini mushrooms

Poaching liquid:

2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 clove of garlic, smashed

H2O to cover

Sweetbreads:

4 oz raw sweetbreads per person

2 oz porcini or other mushrooms, sliced thin

2 tablespoons AP flour

1/4 teaspoon minced shallots

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup demi glace - store bought or homemade

Pinch of fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

 

In a large sauce pan place milk, peppercorns, garlic and sweetbreads. Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes, remove from heat and allow sweetbreads to cool in milk mixture. When sweetbreads are cool enough to handle remove any fat and the thin membrane that holds the sections together. Set aside until you are ready to finish the dish.

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil and heat until very hot but not smoking. Add sweetbreads to flour and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms to sauté pan and begin to sauté. Add sweetbreads to pan and sauté allowing them to get crispy on each side. Remove mushrooms and sweetbreads from pan and set aside. Add garlic, shallots and fresh thyme, sauté quickly. Add demi glace to deglaze the pan. Off heat, add butter and swirl in to emulsify sauce.

Place mushrooms on plate and top with crispy sweetbreads. Drape sauce over sweetbreads and enjoy!

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