Sweetbreads

Sweetbreads

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

These are considered a delicacy by a great many people, and classic French cuisine includes a number of famous dishes based on sweetbreads.

Sweetbreads are an animal’s pancreas and thymus glands, usually taken from a calf. In appearance and texture, sweetbreads are very similar to brains and, like the latter, they must be given special soaking and blanching treatments before cooking.

Once prepared, sweetbreads may be cooked whole or sliced, pan-fried or coated in breadcrumbs and fried. They may also be braised, whole, with aromatic vegetables, herbs and wine and served with a rich mushroom sauce or a delicate creamy sauce. Creamed sweetbreads can be used to fill small savoury tartlets, vol-au-vent cases, croûstades or Crisp Bread Shells.

Basic preparation: Soak sweetbreads in cold water for several hours, changing water frequently. This will allow blood and impurities to seep out. Then blanch by placing them in a large saucepan of fresh cold water, bringing it slowly to the boil and boiling for about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse them well under cold running water. The sweetbreads can then be trimmed of pieces of cartilage, ducts and skin. If they are to be sliced, they should first be pressed between two plates or boards.

Once prepared, sweetbreads can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before they are cooked.

Ingredients

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