Herb Roasted Sweetbreads

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  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1 1/2 pounds fresh veal sweetbreads, soaked overnight in cold water

4 tablespoons grape-seed oil

1 leek, cut into half-inch pieces

1 fennel bulb, chopped into one-inch pieces

3 shallots, chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed

2 bay leaves

1/2 bunch thyme

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

8 ounces Noilly Prat dry vermouth

16 ounces chicken stock

Verjus Sauce:

1 tablespoon grape-seed oil

1 shallot, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 bay leaf

1/2 bunch tarragon

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 cup green grapes, crushed by hand, keeping all juices

4 ounces white wine

8 ounces white verjus

8 ounces reduced sweetbread poaching liquid

1 tablespoons butter, unsalted

Vegetable Garnishes:

24 pieces of green grapes, peeled and stored in acidulated water

16 pieces of butter-braised radishes

1 cup small diced sunchokes, glazed with butter and chives

5 pieces of French Breakfast radish, shaved into ice water

Petite lettuces like mache, frisee or watercress


  1. 1. Remove the sweetbreads from the water and pat dry with a towel, season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. 2. Heat a pan large enough to hold the sweetbreads and the rest of the ingredients in a single layer.
  3. 3. Add grape-seed oil to the pan and lightly sear the sweetbreads on all sides for about 90 seconds.
  4. 4. Remove the seared sweetbreads from the pan and add the leeks, fennel, shallots, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, coriander seeds, and peppercorns. Cook over medium heat until soft without caramelizing, for about 4 minutes.
  5. 5. Add the Noilly Prat to the pan, stirring up anything that may be stuck to the pan, then add the chicken stock. Simmer for 8 minutes on low temperature.
  6. 6. Return the seared sweetbreads to the pan and, with the heat on low, gently poach them for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and allow the sweetbreads to cool in the cooking liquid.
  7. 7. Once cooled, remove them from the liquid and reserve for portioning. Heat the cooking liquid and strain through a fine-mesh sieve, reduce the cooking liquid by two-thirds, leaving you with about 1 cup of reduced liquid. This will be the base for the sauce.

Verjus Sauce:

  1. Directions
  2. 1. Heat grape-seed oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, golden raisins, and coriander seeds. Cook for about 90 seconds.
  3. 2. Add the crushed grapes with the juices, bay leaf, and tarragon. Stir for about 90 seconds.
  4. 3. Add the white wine and boil for 30 seconds to burn off the alcohol. Add the verjus and sweetbread poaching liquid. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. 4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a new saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and reduce until the consistency thickens and the flavor intensifies.
  6. 5. Finish the sauce with chopped tarragon and minced shallots before serving.

Vegetable Garnishes:

  1. To Finish the Sweetbreads:
  2. 1. Have a heavy bottom saute pan heating up with enough grape-seed oil to cover the bottom.
  3. 2. Season both sides of the cooked sweetbreads with salt and pepper and lightly coat with flour, shaking off any excess.
  4. 3. Sear the sweetbreads on medium-high heat until golden brown and caramelized on all sides.
  5. 4. Add a crushed clove of garlic, a sprig of thyme and a tablespoon of butter to the pan, allowing the butter to brown before removing the sweetbreads from the pan. Keep warm.
  6. Assembly:
  7. 1. Place the sunchoke ragout on the plate and put the sweetbreads on top.
  8. 2. Arrange the braised radishes and peeled grapes on the plate, and then apply the verjus sauce.
  9. 3. Finish the plate with the petite lettuces and shaved radishes.