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Regime Type:

Without Eggs, Strict PKD (No Allowances)

Preparing Sweetbreads

Introduction & Inspiration

Sweetbreads are a real delicacy and are highly nutritious. They can be cooked in many different ways, and are very mild tasting, tender and creamy.

In order to give them the best possible flavour and texture, it's important to properly prep the sweetbreads before cooking them.

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Recipe Overview

Preparation Time

Less than 30 minutes

(To Note: Plus several hours for soaking and pressing (optional) the sweetbreads see Tips section below)

Cooking Time

Less than 30 minutes

Serving Size

160g Prepared Veal Sweetbreads

Main Ingredients:

215g Veal Sweetbreads


Recipe Instructions

Place the sweetbreads in a bowl of salted water for 2 hours to get rid of any impurities. You can change the water a couple of times during the soaking process.


Bring some water to boil in a large pot. Add the sweetbreads and reduce the temperature to lightly poach them for about 5-10 minutes (you don't want to boil it as otherwise it will become tough). The water should be just gently bubbling. Every once in a while give the water a stir and check on the firmness of the sweetbreads.


Prepare a glass bowl with cold water and ice cubes that will serve as an ice bath that you will place the sweetbreads into once they have finished poaching (this will shock them, make them contract and expel any further impurities).


Use a large slotted spoon to lower the sweetbreads carefully into the ice bath. Let the sweetbreads sit in the ice bath for about 5 - 10 minutes. Rinse the sweetbreads under running water.


Transfer the sweetbreads to a large chopping board and pat them dry.


Cover the sweetbreads with a sheet of greaseproof paper and then add a heavy pan or pot on top of the sweetbreads to weight them down (for a couple of hours or overnight).


To clean the sweetbreads, remove any remaining tough membrane, gristle, fat, or veins. This is best done with your fingers and a small sharp knife or indeed a pair of kitchen scissors. The tricky part is doing this while keeping the sweetbreads whole as they are still quite tender at this stage. It's a little tedious, but will help to improve the texture of the end product so that it's less chewy.


Your sweetbreads are now prepped and are ready to cook in any number of ways.


The sweetbreads are perishable and so when you get them, cook them as soon as possible.


Sweetbreads shouldn't be pink inside, it should be cooked in the centre.


The soaking process helps draw out all of the blood and impurities.


You can if you wish skip the step of weighting the sweetbreads down. This is more of a traditional step in classical cooking. The pressure gives them a firmer texture (pressing pushes out all the excess moisture) and a more uniform shape, so that they are easy to slice into medallions. If you skip this step, they may be a little bit more spongy in texture and less uniform, but still delicious!


If you can't get all of the outer membrane layer off, it's not an issue. Texture wise, It might be a little chewier and slightly less creamy.


Classically, the sweetbreads are normally poached before removing the membrane. You can however remove the membrane while the sweetbread is raw as well. Many chefs do this.


Ideally, purchase your offal from pasture raised animals that are Nitrate, Nitrite & Additive Free and use white sea salt or rock salt that contains no anticaking agents or other additives.


Use the Recipe Search functionality on the website to discover how to incorporate sweetbreads into various dishes.


Sweetbreads go really well with smoked bacon, black pudding and a mint garnish.


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