petit ragout of sweetbreads
A few months ago we included a pack of veal sweetbreads in our Donald Russell order and it had been left forgotten behind the frozen peas until this weekend, when we dug them out of the freezer to use in this lovely recipe from the Terra cookbook. B did a splendid job with them and the ragout was really delicious, especially when paired with fluffy mashed potatoes. We will definitely be repeating this dish, but with monkfish or chicken in place of the sweetbreads as although I like them, they aren’t something I want to eat large quantities of (I don’t think it helped that we had a serving meant for four between two!).
Terra’s Petit Ragout of Sweetbreads and Mushrooms
(adapted from Terra: Cooking from the Heart of Napa Valley)
550g (20 oz) veal sweetbreads
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp sherry wine vinegar
3 tbsp dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp corn flour
90g (3 oz) wild mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup broad beans (frozen are fine), blanched for 1 minute
1/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1/4 cup rice flour
3 tbsp clarified butter*
1/2 tsp white truffle oil (garnish)
The night before, place the sweetbreads in a large bowl and pour in enough ice water to cover and leave in the fridge to soak overnight (this will remove any residual blood in them).
In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to the boil and add in the rice vinegar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to a simmer, then add the sweetbreads to gently poach for 4 to 5 minutes, until firm but medium rare. Lift them out and place in a bowl of ice water to cool for 10 minutes.
Drain and pat dry the sweetbreads with paper towels. Remove all visible membrane and veins, then cut into 1/2 inch thick medallions and season with the salt and black pepper.
To make the sauce, melt 1 tbsp butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, sautéing until it starts to caramelise then add the vinegar and wine and bring to a boil. Add the stock and tomato purée, then return to the boil. Mix the corn flour with 2 tbsp water to form a paste, then add to the simmering sauce to thicken. Season to taste and set aside.
In a skillet, melt the remaining butter and sauté for a minute or two. Lightly season and set aside.
Mix the flours together in a medium bowl, then dredge the sweetbread pieces in the mixture. Heat the clarified butter in a large skillet until hot, then sauté the sweetbreads until crisp and golden brown (just over a minute per side).
Transfer the sweetbreads to the sauce and add the mushrooms and broad beans. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for a minute. Season to taste.
Serve the ragout in warmed shallow bowls with a drizzle of white truffle oil over the top and a big spoonful of mashed potatoes on the side.
* clarified butter is made by melting butter until it separates, then skimming off the foam that floats to the surface and also removing the milk solids that sink to the bottom. You will roughly need 6 tbsp of butter to obtain 3 tbsp clarified butter.