Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Oh, You have to Love those "Sweetbreads"

Starting next week, I am going to have my kitchen cabinets repainted and a new counter top and back splash installed. So before the chaos starts and the kitchen is officially "closed" for any kind of cooking, I made the mistake of asking my husband what he wanted for dinner on Saturday night.


If anyone has made sweetbreads before, you know it is a time consuming process to prep those little thymus glands.

Make sure you buy veal sweetbreads! I was in a little restaurant in Seville, Spain and there was sweetbreads on the menu. My husband and I each ordered them as our entree. To my horror, our waiter presented us each with a huge casserole of lamb sweetbreads swimming in olive oil! I had a very hard time trying to eat them. I wanted to make some kind of dent in my plate for the waiter was so solicitous and was very concerned on how we liked our food.
So back to our veal sweetbreads....
You need to soak them overnight in the refrigerator and then poach in water with a sliced onion and salt. Make sure you do not over poach them or they will get tough. After poaching, cool in a cold water bath. Drain and pat dry. Cut away any fat and remove any membrane, separating into 1" to 2" pieces. Reserve 1 cup of the poaching liquid for the sauce at the end.

2 lbs. veal sweetbreads
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 lb. chantrelle mushrooms (a must), trimmed and torn in to medium pieces
1/4 lb. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and torn into medium pieces
2 large shallots, minced
1/3 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Make brown butter: Melt 1/2 cup butter to a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes; butter will initially foam then subside. Butter will start to brown, stir frequently at the end. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and reserve.
Add 2 tablespoons of the brown butter to a heavy skillet over high heat. Season sweetbreads with salt and pepper and add to skillet in batches. Do not over crowd. Cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sweetbreads have browned. Transfer to a oven proof dish and keep in a warm oven. If you need to cook them in batches, wipe skillet clean and add more butter.

Add remaining brown butter and the mushrooms. Saute until edges start to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add shallots and saute for a few minutes. Add sherry, lemon juice, poaching liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce by half. Add cream and reduce. Add parsley, 2 tablespoons of butter (not browned) and sweetbreads.
Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

My husband selected this big, velvety smooth "Mercury Head" from Napa which was the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon to compliment the sweetbreads. It is from the Orin Swift Vineyards.
Bon Appetit!

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