The sweetest thing


*This post is not recommended for people that do not like ‘internal affairs’ (i.e. offal) only for sworn carnivores (or actually omnivores)*

So, I just got some sweetbreads, and I am trying to learn how to deal with them. They must be fresh, that much I understand, but just how fresh? Most cookbooks say ‘no older than 24 hours’ or so.. so.. there you have it, buy only when you know that you are going to cook it… like.. immediately. Also- make sure the ones you get at the butchers’ are fresher than fresh.

They also need to be cleaned, soaked in water, and cleaned again.. yuk… what did I get myself into?

Lets hope it will be worth it.

And off we go…

Starter: White wine. Always drink when you cook, everything comes out much better on a happy stomach.

Appetizer: Simple mushroom soup

  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 2tbs of dries mushrooms
  • 4 sage leaves
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 20-40gr butter
  • white wine
  • chicken stick
  • salt and pepper

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water. Chop the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Melt the butter in a pot, put in the garlic and onion and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for a while, then add some white wine. Let the alcohol evaporate and add chicken stock, dried mushrooms and their soaking water. Season to taste. Let it cook for a while to develop tastes. You may serve it with some sour cream, or a touch or heavy creme, or just like this, pure forest.

First course: Red carpaccio

  • 100gr Rump
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 shallots
  • chili
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • thyme, parsley

Make the meat into a carpaccio- I used a roller for that, and rolled it between 2 sheets of nylon. Let it stay at room temp until u serve (if you are making it close to serving, if not keep in the fridge and take out 1 hour before serving- it should be room temp at serving, not cold) keep it covered (against cats, dryness and/or flies). That is all there is to it. now it’s just seasoning. I baked a carrot (cut to 1/8) and 2 shallots, with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dried chili (a tad too much even) salt and pepper.

I found this combo quite successful, together with the meat and a few parsley and thyme leaves. Looks sexy, doesn’t it?

Main course: Sweetbreads my way

  • 1 lemon
  • 300gr sweetbread
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • white wine
  • green fava beans
  • green chickpeas
  • salt and pepper

There is some information about sweetbreads in the net, but I must say it wasn’t enough for me. If one day I will learn more about those meat candies, I will surely let the ‘net’ know. For now, all I have is a warm suggestion to try them, and my recipe.

So, I soaked the sweetbread in cold water for an hour  and then cleaned them from some kind of outer layer. Then I boiled them in water with English pepper and bay leaf. Then I put them in water again, and cleaned some more. That is what different  recipes said to do… then I put them under some heavy weight, which is supposed to make them easier to work with…I don’t know if this is necessary…

Now for business? Cut the sweetbreads to small pieces, and toss them in flour. Fry in olive oil, and then flavor as you wish. I chose lemon, which works perfectly with sweetbreads. So, I added juice from one lemon. White wine came in next, and then some fava beans and chickpeas, salt and pepper. Cook for 30min or so, until fluids are reduce and taste is perfect.

For some color and some crunch I added lightly braised fava beans and a little parsley. It all turned out to be quite a success, though I sure do have a lot to learn about the ‘insiders’..

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