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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Feeds 2 Really Hungry People OR 4 Normal Hungry People 1x


Once you have mastered this you are on your way, your sweetbreads ready to welcome any number of companions on the plate with them.

We tend to use lamb sweetbreads, but you can utilize equally delicious veal sweetbreads.


Units Scale

1 lb. Sweetbreads

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

A Pot of Water (enough to cover the sweetbreads)

A Healthy Splash of White Wine

Cloves of Garlic

A Bundle of Thyme and Parsley, tied together

Black Peppercorns

A Splash of Olive Oil

A Knob of Unsalted Butter


Rinse the sweetbreads thoroughly under cold, gentle running water to remove any blood.

Bring the pot of water, with the wine, herbs, and spices added to a boil. Slip the sweetbreads into the pot.

Poach for 2 1/2 minutes, only until slightly firm.

Remove the sweetbreads and lay onto a kitchen towel lined tray to cool and dry.

Once cooled enough to handle, peel the membrane off the little glands. This can be tedious, but necessary.

Get the frying pan (cast iron preferred) hot but not furiously hot. Add a splash of oil and a knob of butter. As this melts, season the sweetbreads with salt and pepper. Add to the pan. It should sound like a steady sizzle, not a frantic singeing.

Brown to a nutty crispness all over but where it retains its giving interior.

Serve immediately with a chunk of lemon OR there are many additions you can add to the pan: a splash of chicken stock, a splash of red wine vinegar, peas, pea shoots, young fava beans, bacon, quarters of Little Gem lettuce, braised endive, mint, capers, young spinach, or watercress.


This excerpt is taken from The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson, purchase the book here.