So last week, after eating the lamb brains I decided we would have the sweetbreads. I was totally excited about this as well – I may have done a short, but enthusiastic ‘home-grown sweetbread’ dance of glee.
But how to cook them? I didn’t want to bread and fry them, as this is what I had done with the brains the previous day. Instead I decided to add them to stroganoff-style sauce. This was really really good – I loved it. James tried a bit but liked the vegetarian version – this is fine as I am greedy and am happy to eat all the sweetbreads myself.
First you need to soak the sweetbreads in cold water for at least a few hours, but ideally over night. Then poach them briefly in court bouillon. Pick off the membrane. I didn’t do this religiously, but I think it is possibly more important to do it for sweetbreads than brains. Actually, if I am honest I can’t remember if I did it before or after poaching – Nigel Slater says to do it before and who am I to argue with this food god – except of course over the number of pork cheeks to use in a recipe – I still don’t know how he can use 8 – what size are the pigs the cheeks have come from?
I digress, the membrane doesn’t taste bad but it makes everything a bit more chewy. Then place a clean tea-towel on a dish, place the sweetbreads on it, cover with the other half of the tea-towel, place another dish on top and pop a weight on it. Leave for a while. I think I left it overnight. Nigel doesn’t mention this stage but I was following the guidance in Jennifer McLagan Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.
Sweetbread Stronganoff: sweetbreads from three lambs; onion – chopped; half a pot of double cream; generous slosh of white wine; flour; parsley; packet of mushrooms; butter; cooked rice to serve.
Gently cook the onion in the butter, add in the mushrooms and cook.
Slosh in the wine and leave to bubble a bit.
Add in the cream, season. Meanwhile dust the sweetbreads in flour
and gently fry in some butter.
Serve the stroganff on top of the rice and place two sweetbreads on your partner’s dish and pile up the rest on your own. Sprinkle on some more parsley to make it look fancy.
N.B. sweetbreads are the thymus and pancreas of the lamb – yuk?? – good, all the more for me!
N.B. Photos were taken in the dingy light of our kitchen with my phone camera. Yes, I could have made more of an effort, but I had been working all day and was exhausted.